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A return to the trainng room


A reminder of things you may have forgotten.  Here are some Hints and tips to make the transition back to the physical training room go smoother

Seems almost every day I see a post from a Trainer hailing their return to the physical training room. Now that COVID restrictions are lifted there seems to be an appetite to have training face to face again .The posts usually mention how pleased the trainer is to be doing this again.


Of course , we all learned and adapted and as result created and delivered some wonderful online training events. But ,for those people orientated trainers there is nothing like the thrill of meeting new learners face to face. However, for some it has been a while so here are a few reminders that might enable the event to go smoothly.

Preparation of the Physical Training room

Unlike the virtual training physical training rooms need a lot of preparation. Perhaps the seats and tables need re-arranging? I am a fan of cabaret style arrangement so I always have to adjust things to ensure maximum visIbility.

When you return to the physical training will you have your favourite seating arrangement again?

Endeavour to be in the room at least 60 minutes so I have time to;

  • Hang the posters
  • Lay the Tables with pens, paper, name plates etc
  • Connect up the projector
  • Create a welcoming Flipchart
  • Adjust the seating arrangements
  • Layout the handouts
  • Switch on the music so that the room feels inviting

Want to avoid those awful silences while the room gradually feels up. Why not organise an activity that learners can undertake while waiting for others .My favourite is a ‘word search based on the course topic’.

The  aim is to have all this done and out of the way so that you can concentrate on building rapport with the Learners as they arrive. Enjoy the sensation of meeting people face to face again after all this time.

Scope out the Training Venue before the event

When you return to the training room you have lots of things to organise . Ideally you will have the opportunity to visit the training venue before your event. This helps you know what you are dealing with.

You may recall some challenging conversations to negotiate changes such as the layout of the tables and chairs. So much easier to have those discussions without the pressure of the course starting in a few minutes.

Checking out the distance of break out rooms from the main training room will pay dividends. If they are too far away try to change them for closer ones. Even if that is not possible at least you can time the walk to the break out rooms so that you can adjust timings as needed.
However, we do not live in an ideal world and it is not always possible to visit beforehand so what can you do in these circumstance?

  • Speak to colleagues who have used the venue before. Their knowledge will be extremely useful
  • Ask the Hotel (especially the Events Manager) to send you a photo of the room. Doesn’t everyone have a mobile these days so this isn’t a difficult thing to ask

If neither of these two options are not available, then my advice is to arrive at the venue as early as possible

Build on the advantages of being face to face

It’s not my intention here to go through the merits of face vs online but the one undeniable advantage a physical training environment has is that you can physically observe your learners practise their newly taught skills .

This can be quite challenge to do online due to the limitations of cameras and learners being physically seperate.
Therefore, design your training event to maximise on this by providing

  • Chance to practise and be observed and have feedback
  • Opportunities to work in collaboration with fellow learners
  • Ways to demonstrate that they can now do what is required of them.

I have always found building rapport can also be easier face to face. It’s easier to make eye contact and see each others smiles.No more pleading with learners to put their camera. You can tell whether your learners are engaged simply by reading their body language. Having a strong rapport with your learners helps you rengagement to improve.

Remember that sending learners to a Physical Break Out room to work together is akin to herding kittens

One of the joys of virtual training is that at the touch of a button you can almost instantly organise your learners into virtual break out rooms.

In the physical room there is always someone who takes advantage of the change of room to-

  • Take a comfort break
  • Answer a message on their phone
  • Simply get lost or confused
  • Smoke

So, allow more time and be patient and be especially clear in your direction think of it as herding kittens.

Consider how you will control things and  probably this will involve you physically visiting the break out. Good news this will help your step count for the day

Take Care of yourself

When I was travelling around the world delivering training events-one golden principle was evident to me. If I wanted my training to be fresh and engaging I too needed to be rested and invigorated.

So, whatever it takes for you to get a good night sleep when travelling do it. For example, you might  need a firm pillow in order to sleep well. Then if this is the case either take one with you or ensure that the Hotel can meet your needs.

A well darkened room in a quieter part of the Hotel was what I required and before checking in I always researched using Trip advisor for tips as to the most suitable room

Resurrect your trainers kit bag
One thing that I will resurrect and start using again on my return is to consider what I might need. I always had what I called my Trainers Kitbag full of all the items I might need for training in the physical training room. It contained the things that I might need to help my delivery such as

  • Tape
  • Spare pens
  • Paper
  • Sticky Tape
  • Pins
  • Bulbs

Having all kitbag items with you enables you to make spontaneous changes. For instance you might decide to incorporate an additional ice breaker or other activity to enliven the training.

My kitbag contained the items that would allow me to do this. And additionally cope with any unplanned for events.

I mean who in the past didn’t have technology let them down or a projector break?

Would you like my suggestions of what a trainers kitbag should contain? Then you are welcome to go my website when you can opt to receive one.

What has been your experience of returning to the physical training room? Good or bad? Why not share your experiences to fellow trainers as you return to the training room


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