How to train and entertain on away days
Got a training day coming up soon? Make the most of it with this advice from Sean Spencer.
It goes without saying that training sessions need to leave delegates refreshed, motivated and energised. However, not enough event organisers realise that their choice of venue can play a huge part in this.
Don’t settle for a large conference room with good facilities but no imagination, when you can have a specially designed and animated venue that gives you everything you could possibly want. Make the most of your venue’s location and carefully consider what your delegates want most from the occasion.
Make sure there is plenty of natural light
Venues in busy cities struggle for space, especially outdoors, so innovative designs and building manufacturers are using building spaces to create open air areas. Whether it’s a roof terrace or courtyard, delegates will benefit from getting some much-needed fresh air during break times.
If your delegates have gone to sleep, you really are in trouble.
Access to a neighbouring green space, walks along the canal side if you’re in somewhere like Birmingham, or meandering beside the River Thames can offer new surroundings, and better yet a fresh perspective.
Change the topic often
Studies have shown that we can only fully concentrate on one thing for 45 minutes at a time, so if each section of your training session total several hours, think again. Make sure your content is broken down into manageable pieces and intersperse this with regular breaks, taking in points of interest in the venue around you.
Scheduling activities intermittently between sessions is a great way to break up the day and a fun way to learn while doing something different. Organising activities allows you to engage with a group and can also be used as a great team building tool. Consider cooking classes, drinks tastings, a fact-finding hunt around the venue or even terrarium potting.
Reawaken and engage delegates throughout the day
If your delegates have gone to sleep, you really are in trouble. However, you do need to be mindful of the fact that there are certain points in the day when energy levels slump and tiredness sets in.
To combat this, it’s a good idea to do the obvious and factor in regular breaks, but also to provide your delegates with the fuel their brains need to boost those levels. Cut out the carbs, instead think yoghurt, nuts, seeds or spinach incorporated into mid-afternoon snacks and don’t be afraid to ask the catering team who will be looking after you to take this into consideration too.
Another top tip is to re-engage brains in a completely different way. We all need a change of pace from time to time and in an all-day training session this is especially important. After all, you need your delegates to leave having learned something new.
Use the venue to your advantage
We may have mentioned this before, but it makes sense to choose a venue that not only provides some interesting educational elements, but one that also delivers on the operational aspects of your session.
State-of-the-art technology and in-house AV cannot be given the cold shoulder. As an organiser or host, you want to be comfortable in the knowledge that the technical side of things are in hand.
If your host venue has capability, encourage clients to get the most out of it – whether that’s digitally branded rooms, installing the best tech for a presentation, or making sure there’s bespoke WI-FI with a personalised landing page. You have enough on your plate so let the tech experts lead the way.
The best way to end a training session
We all learn in different ways, but the rule of thumb is to re-affirm your objectives and messages at the end of your training session. Do this in a positive, upbeat and, most importantly, concise way and you will not only make sure delegates leave with everything fresh in their minds, but you will impress upon them the value they’ve gained from your day.
Having something your guests can take away, physically or digitally, means that in a couple of days or weeks they will be reminded of all the great things they learnt at the training day.
You may also want to think about something social and relaxed for the end of the day, but let's leave that one to you. Perhaps you might all find your way back outside again, enjoying the fresh air one more time.
About the author
Sean Spencer is head of venues at IET Venues
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