How to Get Organised for Face-To-Face Trainings

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Professional Development

Let's look at the importance of being well organised when it comes time to delivering a face-to-face training. And remember that failing to plan is just like planning to fail. 

When it's time to get ready to deliver training, the effort that you put in to get prepared can make a difference. It can make or break the success of your training sessions. Okay, so you might be wondering, what could possibly go wrong when it comes time to deliver your training? Well, there are so many things to consider, check and plan for to make sure that your sessions run seamlessly. 

Let's think about the training venue for face-to-face-trainings... 

It's really important to check in advance to make sure it will be suitable for the training. Here are just a handful of issues that you could be faced with when you arrive at the training venue:

  • Is the room big enough with enough space available for all your learners? 
  • Is the location noisy and is there enough privacy so your learners don't feel awkward or perhaps even on show?
  • Temperature is also a really important consideration, and your learners can easily become disengaged and lose focus if they're not feeling comfortable. 
  • Is all the equipment you plan to use available and ready for use? 
  • Do you require power for laptops or other equipment? And if so, are there enough power outlets available? 

Turning up at the last minute and discovering issues with the venue can be frustrating and potentially embarrassing. You need to make sure you have enough time to check the venue and make it right before the training is scheduled to start. 

So you're probably wondering what you can do to be prepared. Here are just a few tips to help ensure that the venue is suitable and ready so that things can run smoothly: 

  • Visit the venue in advance so you can make sure that it's a suitable location and that the equipment you need is there. Things like whiteboards, flip charts and projectors. 
  • Be involved in the venue organising and clearly communicate your requirements. Don't just let somebody else do it for you who probably doesn't really know what you need. 
  • Always arrive early. Find out what time you can access the venue so you can set up and double-check everything. 
  • Make sure you introduce yourself to the venue staff and let them know who you are. If you build a friendly rapport with them, you'll probably find they'll be more than happy to help you when needed. 
  • If you're at a venue where catering will be provided, make sure that you confirm those times with the venue staff to ensure they work with your delivery plan. You'll also be able to confirm this and share that information with your learners. 

Let's talk about the technology for face-to-face-training and the importance of having contingency plans... 

Now without sounding pessimistic, there's every chance that something will go wrong or at least not to plan and it's usually something that you really didn't expect. 

Now I'm not talking about technology in terms of a student's digital literacy skills and the support you might need to provide them, but rather I just want to share with you some of the challenges that you might face with technology when you need to deliver your training. 

This includes things like:

  • Incompatibility of different pieces of equipment such as connection cables between devices. 
  • What about the internet? We rely on it so much and sometimes too much, so what happens when all your resources are in the cloud and the internet decides to take a leave of absence? 
  • And of course, the printer. They always seem to have a hissy fit right when you need them the most. So what will you do when you need printed copies for your training activities? 
  • What do you do when suddenly your laptop starts making funny noises to tell you that the battery is almost flat, and you suddenly realise that your charger is sitting on the kitchen bench at home? 

Even when things are running well, equipment can suddenly stop working. Computers crash, projectors blow bulbs and all sorts of other possibilities. To be prepared for these potential issues it's a great idea to brainstorm some “what if” scenarios and find alternatives and solutions that will allow your training to continue smoothly should anything happen. 

So, what can you do to be technologically prepared? Well, again visiting the venue is the best way to see firsthand what technology is in place and if it's compatible with your equipment. It might mean organising a different type of cable or some form of connector. I always take a simple technology kit with me that contains different adapters and cables just in case I need them. Now this is because it's something that has happened to me a lot, particularly in older venues. 

I also like to keep printed copies of resources on hand in case my online versions aren't available. I can distribute electronic copies if I can't access printed versions. Present these versions of course to your learners as though it was your initial plan. There is nothing worse than listening to a trainer telling you what they were going to do. Just tell them what you are going to do. For example, if you were going to do an online quiz but the internet's down, distribute a printed version of the quiz or do another form of revision activity instead. Utilising smartphones is also another great way to distribute resources. Project the resource onto the screen and have your learners take a snapshot. This is also a very sustainable option. 

Okay, so you've checked the venue and the available technology, and everything looks ready to roll. Now it's time to deliver your sessions but there's still another consideration that I'd like to get you thinking about.

Let's also look at the x-factor in the room for face-to-face-trainings... 

Often the unknown entity here is the characteristics of the learners themselves and how they'll participate and contribute to the training you deliver. 

Now as part of the ongoing preparation and continuous improvement process, it's highly recommended that trainers actively build a repertoire of techniques and activities that can be easily implemented when things don't go exactly as planned when delivering your training. 

So what could possibly go wrong and need a contingency plan to get the training back on track? Sometimes you'll find yourself teaching a group that seems to lack dynamics. The learners are quiet or shy and seem apprehensive to contribute or get involved. You feel like you're delivering to an empty room. You may even discover that your learners all have different levels of experience, and you'll need to ensure that everyone remains engaged as you get everyone up to speed. 

Timing is another consideration, and even though you may have practiced your sessions to get the timing right for your activities, it won’t be the same every time. How can you build a repertoire of techniques and activities to call upon when you deliver your training? Self-reflection is a great way to build that repertoire of techniques and activities because it allows you to think about the things that you did in your training that worked well with different groups and in different situations, as well as identifying the things that just didn't seem to work or could be changed. 

Once you've identified these areas that can be improved, you can brainstorm creative new activities that you could use in your future training sessions to keep your learners engaged and achieve some awesome outcomes. 

Over time you'll continue to develop a wonderfully diverse toolbox of engaging techniques and activities that will have you prepared for just about any training situation that you're faced with. And remember it's all about being organised and well prepared. 

Thanks for reading. If a career as a trainer in vocational education and training is something you're interested in, contact us to see just how you can get started.

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