Finding a training facility is not as easy as it looks. All kinds of considerations must be taken into account, from the location, right through to whether tea and coffee is offered in the breaks. Participants must be able to learn effectively in a distraction-free, easy environment, while the trainer must have everything he or she needs to facilitate the training as effectively as possible. Here are ten key things, in no particular order, to consider when looking for the right venue.
1. How easy is the training venue to get to by car or public transport? Is there adequate parking at or near the venue, and how close do the nearest buses and trains get? Is it easy to locate on a map or via sat nav?
2. What are the catering arrangements like - what does the venue offer participants in terms of hot or cold food and drinks on arrival, during breaks and at lunch? Can they cater for additional dietary requirements and will they provide serving staff or are delegates expected to help themselves? Is water available at all times? Can the venue host extras, such as a team award dinner or post-training social event?
3. What is the room like? Is there enough space for everyone to sit comfortably? Can you be flexible with the layout of tables and chairs? Can you divide the room into smaller sections? Is there natural light and windows with blinds to block out intrusive sunlight? What about fans and/or air conditioning?
4. What equipment is provided in the venue hire price and what must you or the trainer bring along on the day? Can they demonstrate how to use the projector, screen, IT, smart board, conference calling equipment, kettle and anything else available in the room? Are there enough power points to plug in computers, laptops etc.?
5. Is the training venue accessible to those with disabilities, for example is there a large enough lift for rooms on the first floor, is there an induction loop for anyone wearing an hearing aid, or a quiet area for delegates needing to take a few minutes out.
6. What are the acoustics like? Will people be able to hear the trainer, and each other during group discussions? Is the room sound-proofed for privacy if others are using the facility at the same time as you?
7. Are folders, paper and pens supplied? What about highlighters, flipcharts, jugs of water, bowls of sweets and other finishing touches? Are you allowed to put flipchart pages and other resources up on the wall?
8. What are the break-out rooms like, and how many are included in the overall price? Are they conducive to effective discussion? Can participants move outside to grab some fresh air if they wish? Where are the nearest toilets? Knowing that the venue has been handpicked with their 'comfort' needs in mind as well as their need to be trained will boost participants' morale hugely, especially when it comes to things like breaks, catering and working in smaller groups.
9. Where can people leave their coats and bags? Is there a secure cloakroom or locker system, or are they expected to keep their things with them all day?
10. How is the room set up to help the trainer? Is there a working clock on the wall? Will they have a dedicated member of staff available throughout the training to help things run smoothly? Is there space to store equipment and resources securely when they are not being used?