So you are conducting a seminar or training session. But from where are you doing it – and what will you need to make it a success? Before we go over the checklist that you need, let’s talk about the location. Yes, even for training sessions and seminars, the “location, location, location” rule applies! The location of your training session and the training room that you eventually use could influence the success of your event.
Besides the prestige of the location of your training session, another important consideration is access to public transit nearby and the availability of parking for your intended audience. Those who do not drive want easy access to public transit; and those who will be driving want close and convenient parking.
Any good training session requires refreshments to ensure that everyone is happy. It is important to know that the training room facility that you plan to use has access to catering for breakfast, lunch or dinner. While this sounds minor, consider that you do not want to lose a portion of your audience if they go out for lunch and are late coming back. Even if it is just refreshments like coffee, tea and water, keeping your group close to your training room is a good strategy. As a provider of office space and seminar training rooms, Telsec offers complimentary coffee, tea and filtered water in two kitchens on a self-serve basis.
Depending on the time of year and the weather outside, many of your seminar attendees could be wearing coats. Having a coat room or at least a coat rack is another detail that you should include on your checklist. The last thing a person attending a session wants to do is to have a wet coat draped over the back of their chair while at an event. They want to know their belongings are safely stored while they try to get the most out of a session.
Again, depending on the time of year, you want to make sure the venue is properly climate controlled so that your attendees will be comfortable. You want to make sure the training room is heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer – but how? Make a random visit to the facility and ask the staff for a tour and see if the room is heated or cooled based on the weather conditions. Don’t forget to ask the staff how easy it is to adjust the temperature of the training room. If your session involves physical activity, then you may want to have the option to lower the temperature to keep everyone comfortable.
While visiting the various facilities, ask the staff about the various furniture configurations available. Depending on the type of training session or seminar that you want to host and the style of the event, you may want classroom style (with tables facing the front), lecture style (with just rows of chairs), or you may even want circle or square style (where all tables or chairs are surrounding the middle). Knowing the available configurations can also help you to narrow down the search for the facility that will work best for you.
What about the acoustics of the room? Will people in the back be able to hear you without a sound system? If a microphone and speakers are needed, are they provided or do you need to bring your own? Even if there is an available sound system, what, if any, extra charges are there to use them? Either way, make sure that you can gain early access to the facility to test the sound system, or to be able to test your own sound system.
Speaking of equipment, ask what equipment is available – and if there is an extra cost for having facility staffers set it up. Many meeting room facilities will have projector screens and overhead projectors, but you also want to make sure that they are compatible with the media you will be displaying. You will also want to know if they have low-tech training equipment such as flip board and white boards. These can be very handy when doing an interactive training session. One of Telsec’s small training rooms has an entire wall that is painted specifically to be a full-wall whiteboard.
If your training session or seminar requires participants to use a laptop computer or a tablet, you should make sure that there are plenty of electrical outlets or a simple way for everyone to plug in their devices. You want to make certain that this can be done with a limited amount of random cables in the training room. A facility that hosts seminars that require computers should have a system in place to reduce ‘cable clutter.’
With computers and other devices involved in your seminar, you need to make sure that the facility you choose has full Internet access for you and all of your attendees. Unless you are bringing in PC’s that require a wired Internet connection, ideally you want a training room facility that can offer a secure WiFi connection. Yes, a secure WiFi connection – meaning that a password or WEP key is required to gain access to the network. You do not want to be on an open network that anyone could potentially hack or gain access to your laptop or device.
When it comes to the training room itself, you have to consider what type of lighting will work best. If you do not require the use of audio/video equipment that requires low lighting, you want to make sure the room has ample lighting and possible access to sunlight. But if your session needs a mixture of lighting styles at various stages, you want to make sure that lighting can be reduced to the appropriate levels and brightened up again when needed. When Telsec had its latest training room designed and built, the designers created an entire window wall to the corridor that was filled with natural light, but also added an electronic blind that could be lowered to keep light out.
While the above tips will help you fill your checklist, there are a few other things you should put on your list when searching for the most appropriate training venue or seminar room for your event.
- Are there breakout spaces available if you need to send participants off to small groups?
- Are there places outside the facility where small groups can go off and work, or just get some fresh air?
- Are there printing or photocopying facilities available in case you need to print or copy additional materials?
- If additional supplies such as stationery, pens or more white board markers are required, is the facility able to accommodate these needs?
- What accommodations does the facility have for accessibility for participants with special needs?
While all of these are great questions for your checklist, the last thing you should do is visit the facility and ask for references from current or past tenants. And be sure to ask them if the facility’s staff are helpful and accommodating. Sometimes the helpfulness of staff at the facility you are considering for your seminar or training session, is the most important consideration.