A good training event is dependent on a number of factors. Of paramount importance of course is the demeanour and performance of the lecturer. The latter should be confident, enthusiastic and above all knowledgeable if he or she hopes engage attendees.
That said, expression is nothing without content. The material discussed must interest and educate in equal measure; delegates are after all present to learn.
Yet underpinning both those points is the suitability of the venue itself. Failure to secure the right location can undermine even great sessions. To avoid that pitfall is to consider what you require on the day itself.
1. EASE OF ACCESS
Training days are no different to meetings and conferences in that they must be easy to reach. Poor access to the facility in question will discourage would-be learners from attending outright. When researching venues then, it pays to consider transport links.
Gauging likely journeys by car, bus, bicycle, boat, train and even air is sound practice. Factoring in peak times to those same trips is also wise.
Unearthing a facility that is easy to get in and out of is, simply put, vital and that principle extends to the actual building itself. A professional conference centre will include disabled access for those requiring it as the needs of the many and not the few are duly catered for.
In all the excitement meanwhile, it is easy to forget the importance of parking, which could prove a horrible oversight. If you can reserve spaces for those attending do so, otherwise be sure to locate nearby alternatives and send out directions to those very locations well in advance.
Securing a venue in which to stage a training conference does not necessarily translate to securing the stationary for it. Indeed, few facilities provide what are – undeniably – a key facet of any lecture or training seminar.
In actuality, the emphasis is often on the organisers themselves to supply paper, pens, highlighters, paper clips and more – at extra expense.
Marrying venue and materials in one package is preferable but though Lane End Conferences offer a complete solution, many do not. With that in mind, it is essential to enquire as to stationary, or a lack of, before committing to a booking.
The materials required for the staging of a strong training conference however extend beyond those typically found in a pencil case. Of greater significance is the equipment – technical or otherwise – that allows a lecture to commence as intended.
Such tools range from overhead projectors to microphones, laptops to white boards, speakers to DVD players and so much more besides.
Again, anticipating complete availability for all of the above is short-sighted. A handful of conference centres will come up trumps in that regard but do not count on their generosity.
Indeed, those arranging training are best served quizzing their hosts on exactly what can be lent from them and what needs sourcing from elsewhere. Remember third party costs can quickly spiral so be prompt.
Nowadays it could be argued Wi-Fi and access to it is the most important of all technology. Sure enough, entire training sessions are often cloud based and failure to secure a connection can cause great embarrassment.
Similarly, if those at the head of the room instruct students to visit certain links it’s always preferable if their connection is not subjected to any company firewall. You could very well confound them with the content itself, try not to do likewise with a mere log on process.
4. BREAKOUT AREAS
Adjoining rooms serve multiple functions when it comes to training days. In the first instance they make for a change of scenery when breaks are afforded – a haven in which to seek refreshment, catch-up on e-mails, mingle or simply take stock.
Building regular intervals into any conference is important if you hope to retain attention spans over the course of several hours.
Extra space however also allows for attendees to split into small groups and complete any practical tasks they are set. Breaking away from the crowd will afford them quiet and room to both discuss and implement ideas.
Conference centres will ordinarily encompass breakout areas which gives them an added advantage over the likes of leisure hotels. Adjoining rooms are by no means a given for the latter and even if they are present there is a strong likelihood another conference will be taking place right next door, this as they seek to maximise earning potential.
Space can stem not just from extra rooms. Indeed, the design of the main hall itself should allow for reconfiguration.
Demonstrations will differ according to the nature of the training, but physical enactments are both popular and impactful. When weighing-up the pros and cons of a potential venue consider whether it is sheer capacity you desire or the freedom in which to gesticulate, dart around and generally interact with your audience.
The make-up of your session meanwhile may necessitate a re-ordering of furnishings. The best conference centres are those that allow for such movement.
On the subject of furniture comfort makes for a successful training session. When assessing the suitability of a venue look beyond the building itself and focus attentions on the chairs and tables it houses.
Know that attendees are unlikely to give you their full concentration if pre-occupied with how sore their back and/or backsides feel.
7. AIR CONDITIONING
There are few things worse than being holed up in a sweltering room feeling hot, bothered and utterly uncomfortable. Indeed, this is hardly conducive to a learning experience. Make no mistake, room temperature can derail even the best training conference.
Depending on the time of year attendees may feel too warm or too cold and by extension distracted from the main event. Before booking a room, organisers should seek assurance that air conditioning is on standby.
Prior to the session beginning meanwhile it is courteous to gauge the collective opinion on temperature to appease as many attendees as possible. Testing the device before their arrival will alert you to any drawbacks, such as it being too loud.
8. LIGHTING AND WINDOWS
There is no substitute for natural light, which can lend itself to a training conference on occasion. Other times it’s best to draw blinds and switch on the electrical equivalent, which should always be sampled early to ensure suitability.
Overly bright rays can prove off-putting, whilst dimly lit rooms can make material hard to read. A happy medium should always be sought.
Elsewhere, and somewhat surprisingly, windows can impact training. Internal panes may be filled with people walking the corridors. Irrelevant? Not exactly. Occurrences outside of the training room – particularly visible ones – detract from the session itself and present an opportunity for eyes to wander.
If this is something which bothers you, be sure to review the training room before renting it and ask for temporary drapes to be applied.
Those leading a training session have something to say and it is their duty to ensure people hear it. Sure enough, the quality of sound equipment can make or break an event of this kind. Indeed, if presenting to a large room there is a danger a lecturer could go unheard if their microphone falters.
A good mic – by contrast – counts for little if the surrounding speakers fail.
Acoustics are best sampled in person. Before confirming a booking ask to test the system yourself by standing in different parts of the room and determining whether you can hear when others present.
Unlike healthcare conferences training sessions are not subject to legislation restricting the levels of sustenance. Your own budgets may impinge on plans for a lavish banquet but there will be an expectancy for you, or rather your company, to provide refreshments.
Water, biscuits and sweets are commonplace – along with a hot drinks machine that is easy to operate. In truth any venue – be it a self-styled conference centre or somewhere pertaining to be one – should offer the above.
Finally, if a training session goes to plan those in attendee will be so engrossed they will forget all about timings. Nevertheless, the presence of a large clock will help everyone keep abreast of the day – trainer included. Such an addition also lessens the likelihood of people checking their phone!
Considering the aforementioned checklist will ensure your training venue is up to standard and the session itself unfolds without incident. Leave nothing to chance.
To help with preparations, read 14 things you must do to improve your training event productivity.
If you would like to know more about Lane End Conferences’ facilities or think we might be able to help your organisation with hosting a training event, please get in touch or call us on 01494 881 171.