Checklist for Venues – Trainer—Can you change the title? It is a well recognized fact that among the number of factors which have an impact on the success of a training program, venue in which the training program is organized is an important factor. Normally the trainer spends a lot of time on the training design, content, methodology,material and the presentations.However, when it comes to the venue of training not much thought and effort is put in and often settling for what is available and even compromising at times. As a traineryou need spend time on “Venue” selection per say as much as the training related aspects. Some helpful tips in this direction are: *Always plan well in Advance – It always pays to know well in advance what kind of a venue is suitable for your program.. Starting early means you have time to scout all alternatives and pick the best of facilities and avail discounts etc. *While picking a venue it is important to pay attention to the following: Comfort for the Numbers – The venue should be able to comfortably accommodate all the participants. While we normally check this aspect for accommodation, the seating in the Conference/Training Halls must also be factored in. Conference/Training Hall – Attention has to be paid in making proper eating arrangements for the participants.A Training Program might be a combination of Lectures, experiential learning, group discussions, ice breakers etc. There should be flexibility by which the seating can be re-arranged with relative ease and quickly. The acoustics must be good and the projector screen and seating arrangements must be such that there is visibility for all, no obstruction in the form of pillars or columns. The acoustics and lighting must be good and the temperature in the Hall well-maintained. Support Material – Normally the Training Hall/Venue deal includes Flip Charts, Note Pads & Pens and Markers. Projectors, Speakers/Sound Systems and Collar mikes may be provided at a higher charge. It is always advisable to always check on each of these to prevent last minute embarrassments. Location – The location of the venue should be both convenient to reach and have the ambience necessary for learning. Whether the venue should be within the city or situated outside depends on the type of a program. For programs that are primarily classroom bound and more regular in nature having programs within the city is more useful as participants can reach it easily. Programs that rely more on experiential learning or learning based on contemplation or any program design that needs a calm atmosphere should be planned in venues that are slightly off the city noises or is able to contain those noises. Experienced Staff at Venues–The staff must be able to quickly intervene and handle any tricky situations, like equipment breakdown. They must also know how much service is good service. While the
stay should be made comfortable, there should not be disturbances when a session is in flow in the name of service. Cost – The Trainer must, of course, evaluate alternatives based on costs & discounts. It is also important to keep the long term picture in mind as venues are likely to give better discounts to customers who bring in regular business. Food Service–Depending on the length of the program, the different means and their menus must be well thought out and planned before. Having very heavy meals is not beneficial to the learning process. The other factor to consider when deciding on the venue is quality – quality of food and quality of service. StayFacilities – In case the participants stay arrangements are to be made in the same place then, laundry and stay arrangements (if any) are hygiene factors. The Trainer must look into these factors while booking the venue as any discomfort has a direct impact on the learning atmosphere. Decision on the occupancy (single or double) must be decided based on the audience. There are some ground rules participants must follow in residential programs. These may relate to alcohol, room service utilization etc. It is always better to clarify these upfront. One simple way to handle these is to draft a welcome letter that the reception staff at the Venue can hand over to the participants when they check in. When one analyses feedback from participants over a period of time, the most commonly identified pain points are not Training Design or Training Delivery. Most complaints are regarding food, stay arrangements and related issues. Taking care of these aspects is critical to set a conducive learning atmosphere.