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Hosting training events: top tips from the event experts

Don’t settle for a large conference room with good facilities but no imagination, when you can have a specially designed and animated venue that gives you everything you could possibly want.

At IET Venues we’re fortunate that both our sites at IET: London: Savoy Place and IET Birmingham: Austin Court have great central city locations.

We’ve always attempted to make the most of both venue locations so we always plan carefully around what our delegates would want most from events, conferences, and training sessions.

Our first tip – make sure there is plenty of natural light

When Savoy Place served as an examination hall for the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons in 1889, the windows in the Faraday Centre were designed to be a certain length to stop students gazing out over the River Thames.

When the building was handed over to the IET we lowered the windowsills to let in even more light, and it’s transformed what we’re able to offer. 

Venues across central London struggle to offer outdoor space so innovative designs and building manufacturers are utilising building spaces to create open-air areas.

Having this feature became imperative to the refurbishment Savoy Place undertook a few years ago and since then we’ve been able to offer a stunning roof terrace providing panoramic views from east to west.  

Delegates frequently use the roof terrace to get some much-needed fresh air, as well as a fresh perspective.

At our Birmingham venue, Austin Court, where canals are the lifeblood of the city, we make the most of the beautiful waterside setting meandering around our venue and encourage delegates to stroll along the Canalside during break times. 

Change the topic often

Studies have shown that we can only fully concentrate on one thing for 45 minutes at a time, so if each section of your training session total several hours, think again.

Make sure your content is broken down into manageable pieces and intersperse this with regular breaks, taking in points of interest in the venue around you.

Scheduling activities intermittently between sessions is a great way to break up the day and a fun way to learn while doing something different.

Organising activities allows you to engage with a group and can also be used as a great team-building tool.

Consider cooking classes, drinks tastings or even terrarium potting.

Reawaken and engage delegates throughout the day

If your delegates have gone to sleep, you really are in trouble.

However, you do need to be mindful of the fact that there are certain points in the day when energy levels slump and tiredness sets in (blame our circadian rhythms).

To combat this, it’s a good idea to do the obvious and factor in regular breaks, but also to provide your delegates with the fuel their brains need to boost those levels.

Think yoghurt, nuts, seeds, or spinach incorporated into mid-afternoon snacks, and don’t be afraid to ask the catering team who will be looking after you to take this into consideration too.

Another top tip is to re-engage brains in a completely different way.

We all need a change of pace from time to time and in an all-day training session, this is especially important.

After all, you need your delegates to leave having learned something new.

For example, you may wish to explore Savoy Place’s first-floor lobby as there is an exhibition of the ‘100 engineering ideas that changed the world’.

Here one can discover everything from 3D printing to air conditioning; the venue also has a curated gallery of the most famous and influential engineers from past, present, and future with short biographies on these inspiring people.

Delegates attending an event at Austin Court can pop outside into our landscaped courtyard and take five to re-energise their thoughts and ideas before re-entering one of the lecture or meeting rooms with a fresh perspective.

Use the venue to your advantage

We may have mentioned this before, but it makes sense to choose a venue that not only provides some interesting educational elements but also delivers on the operational aspects of your session.

Both IET Venues are renowned for their state-of-the-art technology and their in-house AV teams are always on hand to make sure clients get the most out of the building whether that be digitally branded rooms, installing the best tech for a presentation, or making sure there’s bespoke WI-FI with a personalised landing page. 

The best way to end a training session

We all learn in different ways, but the rule of thumb is to re-affirm your objectives and messages at the end of your training session.

Do this in a positive, upbeat, and, most importantly, concise way and you will not only make sure delegates leave with everything fresh in their minds but you will impress upon them the value they’ve gained from your day.

Having something your guests can take away, physically or digitally, means that in a couple of days or weeks they will be reminded of all the great things they learned on the training day.

You may also want to think about something social and relaxed for the end of the day, but we’ll leave that one to you.

Perhaps you might all find your way back outside again, enjoying the fresh air one more time.