Research has shown that people learn better when they are in a positive mood. To help your delegates get the most out of your session, do what you can to ensure that they are feeling happy and positive before you begin.
1. Set the tone in the lead up to the session. Remember that people will bring all their experiences of you/your department with them to the training session.
If you advertise your training sessions within your organisation (or outwith!) and individuals can chose to attend, ensure that you have an accurate aim and clear set of learning outcomes. This will help manage the expectations of delegates on the day of the session.
In the run up to the session, ensure that you have communicated clearly the start/end times, the location (providing directions if people may not know where they are going) and any details of preparation or pre-course work that needs to be undertaken.
If delegates ask questions, or look for further information, ensure that your respond accurately and in a timely manner.
Whilst small things in themselves, all these things will help ensure that the delegate has a good impression of you before they even come through the door on the day of your session.
2. Start/Finish Times
It’s important to give consideration to the start and finish times for your session to help get the most from your delegates. Many sessions begin at 09:00 or 09:30, which does maximise the quantity of time you can have with the group – but what is the quality of the learning time?
Starting a session that early doesn’t always give people the chance to switch into learning mode. They come to the classroom still thinking about whether or not the kids remembered to take their lunch with them, how many emails they have sitting in their inbox and what else they have to do before they finish work for the day.
Perhaps, it would be more productive to being your session slightly later, allowing people to clear their desks as far as they can and settle down to learn more effectively.
3. Your Venue
Make sure you chose a venue that meets all the basic requirements for a great session: decent bathrooms, good lighting and windows!
If you have a budget for refreshments, providing a morning snack always goes down well (bacon rolls or danish pastries are sure fire winners!).
This is the first formal interaction you will have with your delegates (and that they will have with each other). It’s vital that you select something which leaves them smiling and relaxed, allowing you to move into the core content of your day with a happy, positive group.
And finally, a word of warning about using music…. many trainer’s like to play welcoming music to their delegates but make sure you hold a valid PRS for music licence before you do or you may find yourself on the end of a fine for breach of copyright. You can find out more about that here: http://www.prsformusic.com/Pages/default.aspx
Enjoy, and happy learning!