If you offer formalized training, whether for your company employees or as a paid expert whose business is professional education seminars, it's important to assure that the entire process runs smoothly throughout the course of the training. A polished presentation, clear, informative handout materials, and a variety of planned activities involving audience participation can together result in a positive experience for the training participants. The right facility can help you create this positive experience by providing the physical layout and support services you need.
If, for instance, you plan to hold a day-long training seminar which involves morning and afternoon media presentations to your entire group, with workshops and hands-on activities planned for smaller groups throughout the day, you'll want a large meeting room which offers a number of seating configurations and the ability to section the room off into two or more smaller rooms; or you can rent several rooms of differing sizes and configurations to meet with your variety of needs.
To maximize productivity at your training seminar, it's important to create a sensible schedule and then stick to it. Make sure you build lunch and morning and afternoon breaks into the schedule, with easy access to food, beverages, and restroom facilities. Holding your seminar at a self-contained meeting center providing refreshments will not only be welcomed by your participants, it will help keep you on schedule, as you won't end up waiting for participants who straggle in after having left the seminar location in search of food.
If you plan to distribute instructional manuals, handouts, and other material at the seminar, consider bundling all the materials together along with pens, pads of paper, and other necessities in a promotional tote with your company logo emblazoned on it; the tote is a great giveaway, and prepackaging the materials and handing them out at the beginning of the seminar will save you time throughout the course of the day.
Think about creating a CD-Rom for participants with additional resource materials which you don't have time to address during the seminar - with your name, company logo, and contact information prominently displayed. If you're a paid expert presenting a professional development seminar, you may also want to gather a selection of books, instructional CDs, and DVDs for sale at the seminar.
If your presentation involves interfacing with the meeting center's audiovisual equipment, make sure you show up far enough in advance of the seminar's start time that you can communicate with the “techies" and troubleshoot the equipment. Even before you get to the facility, you should have identified a specific individual as your contact person and communicate with him or her adequately leading up to the seminar. And make sure you have a solid understanding of the support services they offer; not only will you be able to access these services yourself if necessary, if you can offer the same services to your seminar participants, it will give them added value and reflect well on you.
Meeting and conference centers can be of great assistance in bringing your training seminar into focus. A wise and creative use of the services they offer will make your job easier and optimize the learning experience for your participants.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.