I do not believe you can instantly teach design. I do not think a few workshops will help either. Not without repeated practical hands-on demonstrations (a class). Subjective thinking versus objective while ultimately dealing with an individual's ability to remove themselves from all other types of communication (what one has previously been exposed too) in order to objectively review the work being presented–that's buddha style.
In my experience, information gathering prior to beginning the project is extremely important. This also means involving all decision makers initially and early on. Everyone who believes they have a stake in the execution should be involved initially, not at the end. Predispositions can not be brow-beaten, reversed/opened up, within a budgeted timeline and deadline-driven project scope. You risk going upside down with your client and team, financially. You may also creatively bankrupt your team because of multiple iterations.
An important factor while reviewing work is in evaluating the information initially provided and used to create it. Half a question will yield half an answer. Half an opinion is not a whole solution. Work is created based on the truths used to inform it. If that information changes in midstream, the work may need to be re-evaluated as a whole. For example, the sentence; Mary had a little lamb, would not make much sense with the words rearranged like this; Had Mary lamb little a. While you the reader may understand what the sentence is trying to communicate, you can only do so because you already know the correct order of words in which the sentence should be written. Familiarity in this case, corrects the mistake cognitively.
If I were to present the common surveyor with a new sentence, never before seen or read, such as; Brick more round, the one world making time a we're., you'd clearly have an issue with how this reads and what it's trying to communicate. Understand that design works in the same way. It's difficult, almost self-destructive, when you think it's okay to simply move, change, revise, edit, modify, marry, merge, eliminate, add or blend–things within a design solution. You are affecting the greater whole of the work and the greater whole should be re-evaluated because of the change to a small sum. We're making the world more round, one brick at a time.
An arbitrary comment, supported by verbal affirmation does not automatically improve the visual problem. Think about that statement for moment. Verbal comments designed to fix a visual. Verbal automatically correcting visual. It's a problem, for sure. Facts can guide creative design, but under no circumstances should it dictate the design. Changing one word in a sentence can affect comprehension of the sentence. The same thing happens with design. We're not all designers because we've seen design. And we're not all writers because we've read books. But of course, we all have it within us to be one and honing these skills start with looking at design and reading more books.
A simple rule that I use when working with non-designers or clients that really don't gravitate towards visual comprehension is: show a visual competitive analysis. Present the work against a back drop of your competitors work. This is a very simple frame of reference that leverages the surveyors knowledge more effectively. You'll get simple responses that aren't over-convoluted diatribes meant to sound intelligent–an honest reaction versus someone trying to respond without being embarrassed. This also allows the designer to evaluate the surveyors responses in relationship to the larger context.
In this case, I can validate my shade of blue against something more tangible that you consider to be a true blue, instead of mixing thirteen different shades and waiting for you to point at one. Money and time are lost for both of us. With visual competitive analysis, we leverage your knowledge ( or inexperience ) against many iterations of work produced by other companies (what you've been exposed to already) while I avoid billing you for an endless loop of revisions. We narrow things down perceptually, based on what's existing in the market and what you want to do in order to stand out.
In saying this, lets also assume that people aren't arriving to the table with preconceived notions of what the work should be/look/function like. By doing so, it inherently becomes brow-beating again.
Design is subject to what has been done before, nothing more. You can only evaluate my work based one the work you've seen by others. This is were the challenge starts and ends. Creating something new means not having a deprecated system to gauge the work against. Even (what may be considered someone) poor design can work effectively if it remains consistent and true to it's purpose.