My dear friend and colleague, Melissa, is coming to my new home in Atlanta for a visit! We don’t get to see each other very often so I cherish our time together. She has become such a great friend over the years and was even a bridesmaid at my wedding. When we’re together, people ALWAYS ask if we’re sisters—once we were even asked if we were twins!
As I rush around preparing for her arrival, I’m so glad I have a checklist: new sheets, clean towels, closet and drawer space, fresh flowers, magazines, basket of toiletries and a welcome gift. Martha Stewart has nothing on me! Did I mention I’m a bit of a perfectionist? I want Melissa to feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed. And isn’t that also what we strive for when we’re conducting a training session?
As a professional corporate trainer, I take the same care and attention when I prepare the room for a train-the-trainer workshop. I want my participants to feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed—just as if I were welcoming them into my own home. Depending on the workshop I’m delivering, we may be spending anywhere from one to five days together, and that’s a significant amount of time.
In preparation for my learners, I use Langevin’s top ten tips for setting up my training room:
1. Remove clutter from previous courses (e.g. used flipchart pages).
2. Remove all unnecessary materials, supplies, furniture and equipment.
3. Create a list of all materials, supplies and equipment you’ll need.
4. Check all learner supplies such as manuals, note paper, pens and name cards.
5. Lay out your equipment and materials, in proper sequence, where they will be needed.
6. Check all the equipment (e.g. multimedia projector) to ensure it is functioning properly.
7. Adjust the settings on all your equipment.
8. Check sight lines to ensure your learners can see your job aids from all seats and angles.
9. Familiarize yourself with the locations of washrooms, coffee stations, fire exits and message center.
10. Provide tables with 4-6 sq. ft. of table area, per person, to give the learners enough space to write.
Whether you’re preparing for guests at home, or for participants in the training room, it doesn’t have to be complicated or a laborious task. With a good checklist to follow, you’ll manage both like a pro!
For even more tips and techniques to make your training a great experience for your learners, check out Langevin’s Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop!
Langevin Alumni, please share your favorite tips on preparing for your learners in the comments section below!