I’ve written this “What to look for in a training room” post for a couple of reasons. The first is that I was thoroughly depressed when I read through the search results for “What to look for in a training room”. I assumed this would be a pretty common search for those new to event organising and I had hoped to see that Google was pointing our new event managers to some recent, useful and dynamic content. But alas, the articles I found were mostly from training venues rather than those who use them. And judging by the posts they simply listed what they had to offer, rather than what trainers needed. So if you find this article useful, please do share!
Maybe I am being a little bit harsh. I suppose if you are an old school organiser, booking a training room for an old school trainer, then perhaps you will find those links useful. However, if you want to create the best possible environment for your trainer and your attendees then read on! This is a list for the new breed of #EventProf!
And the second reason was that I ran a training course last week and the training room……it was spectacular. So here’s my list:
What to look for in a training room
One. A space that supports creativity. Now, no matter the topic of the training your trainer will be trying to change the attendee’s behaviour. They could be using the time to teach them to stop doing something, or to do something new or different. As an organiser and as a trainer we need to support those attendees to look at their challenges and solutions differently. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” and several other books on creativity says: “It is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively” There are loads of ways to make an environment more conducive to creative thought; empty rooms, bar a table and some chairs are not what you are after.
Two. A light, open, comfortable space is a must. Attendees and the speaker will spend the best part of a day together. So your first consideration when you look at a training room really should be: “would I like to spend the day in here”? If every organsier asked this question there would be 1000’s of empty training spaces! It is your job as the organiser to make the training experience as enjoyable as possible. You will make it a tough day if you place them all downstairs in a tiny room with uncomfortable chairs.
Three. Spaces within the space. A good trainer will be texturising the learning. They will set tasks for attendees to talk to each other one or one. They will break the attendees into smaller groups, and at some stage bring everyone together. To support this, a training room should be easily broken up into smaller areas or perhaps have these areas already set up in the room. Another solution is to have easy access to a different space.
Four. Modern technology. A relaxed speaker is a good speaker. Nothing will set your speaker more on edge than having an issue with the technology in the room. In a world of wireless connections fumbling around with cables and attachments should be a thing of the past. What you want as a speaker is to be able to come into a room and within seconds have your presentation on the screen. Make sure there are as few steps as possible and that there is an idiot’s guide close by.
Five. An on site event manager. Even when the organiser of the training is on site they may need some support. It is essential that your venue has an event manager close at hand. Ideally, they should welcome the trainer, run through the room and the venue, doing all they can to put them at ease.
Six. Refreshments on tap. Gone are the days of the 3 x coffee breaks. You really, really need to be booking training spaces that are self service and have refreshments on tap. A trainer needs to be able to tell the attendees to take a break when they want, or to grab a coffee when they need. Not at prearranged times. The best venues are doing this already.
Seven. Brain food. If you are providing catering you should ask the venue for some brain food. Out go the stodgy pastries and in come the juices, fruits and nuts. Lunch should be light. And ideally served in a different space from where the training takes place.
You could sum up this short list by saying you want to find a venue that knows its customers and wants them to enjoy their time in their venue. It is about being relaxed, comfortable and well looked after. There is no secret to the success of a training day. If your venues does these things for your trainer, it makes their lives so much easier. By the way the training room was in the newly refurbished Marriott Hotel in Knightsbridge.