The importance of getting a good result from training can’t be understated. So much thought, preparation, time, expense and effort has been invested by the trainer. And, what about the delegates? They have given up their time, travelled somewhere new, put themselves out of their comfort zone and possibly also paid for the course.
So how do you ensure that everyone involved gets a good return on their investment and leaves feeling they’ve had a positive experience?
As the organisation delivering the training you can focus on excelling with your training content and delivery of the session – but what if people arrive feeling stressed because there wasn’t enough parking at the venue? Or they weren’t welcomed at reception? What if people start wriggling uncomfortably after an hour because the seats are too hard or if there’s a delay in bringing refreshments or if it’s too hot, too dark … and the list goes on.
These are all issues that are (seemingly) out of your control and don’t really have anything to do with the quality of the training, right? Wrong! The venue you select for training is a reflection of you, your company and your brand. Delegates will remember bad food or a shabby venue and they will associate it with you. The training venue is arguably as important as the training content itself. A great venue will ensure that people are engaged, comfortable and in the right frame of mind for learning and development.
Selecting a training venue – where to start?
The ‘perfect’ training venue is actually quite subjective – it will all depend on what you’re looking to get out of it. We always start with understanding your objectives for the training, what your delegates want and need, plus getting to know the brand and values of your company. It is crucial to find a training venue that represents your brand; that might mean, for example, a more traditional country estate type of venue for a brand that values heritage and quality or a bright, upbeat city venue for a brand that is fun, informal and quirky.
Once you have considered your objectives and values, you can start to think about location – another key factor in finding a great training venue. Here you’ll need to carefully consider your audience for the training. How far are they willing to travel? Do they prefer to drive or is good accessibility and public transport a ‘must’. If you are offering an open course where delegates are self-funding then where is the location that gives you access to the biggest target market.
Thinking as well about your branding and objectives, what makes you feel good when you picture your ideal location? Are you looking for a residential venue that feels ‘away from it all’, so all the delegates have to think about is what’s in the room. Or do you want a venue that is in itself inspiring and plays a part in helping participants generate ideas or solutions.
You can pretty much categorise training venues into three main groups: city training venues, academic training venues and residential training venues. They all have different plus points and features – we’ll come back to them in more detail (and with examples of our favourites) in a future blog.
When shortlisting your training venue options, it’s important to consider the training room’s environment and what it offers you. Is it enough of a blank canvas that it can be adapted to suit your requirements or would it be too distracting or, at the other extreme, perhaps it is too bland and uninspiring. Again, think about your brand, how you want to position your company and what you want to get out of the training.
Training room essentials:
- Good quality, comfortable chairs and furniture – ideally ergonomically designed
- Natural daylight and good lighting – they can enhance the productivity and creativity of delegates
- Top spec A/V equipment – to allow the trainer to work without any challenges or delays – including whiteboards, plasma screens, superfast wi-fi, video conferencing, speakers
- Delegate stationery, flipcharts or working walls
- Free-flow teas, coffees and refreshments – allowing for greater flexibility on the day and less hassle for the trainer
- Effective air conditioning, window blinds, visible clock, plenty of power sockets
- Easily accessible toilets
- Good access for delegates with disabilities.
Flexibility is key here, so when deciding what size venue you need, ensure wherever you choose has plenty of syndicate rooms and is willing to be flexible. Then if you do decide you need an extra break-out room or if you need to accommodate more people it’s not a crisis.
If you are going for a residential training venue then also consider what areas there are around the venue for informal, out of hours discussions – these are important too.
It goes without saying that you should expect a dedicated contact from your training venue on the day. They should be on hand throughout and have appropriate authority to sort out any issues that could arise. Overall though, the service of a really good training venue will be seamless and intuitive.
From the outset, a great venue should offer a personal service, attention to detail, warmth and friendliness. Venues should offer lots of choice to suit the varying needs of their customers – this can be choice in room layouts, menus and terms and conditions.
Find Your Perfect Training Venue
Many factors are at work in finding a good training venue, but essentially look for a venue that can play an active role in enhancing the delegate experience and that embodies your brand.
Look out for upcoming blogs on types of training venues; how food influences learning; plus, the impact of creative spaces on training.
If you need some help finding a training venue then get in touch with The Meeting & Event Team to discuss your requirements. As training venue specialists we can help you find your perfect match.