Managers of large training events, such as those with lots of breakout sessions, handle a deep checklist of things to do, many of which attendees may never notice. To make a training event a true happening and successful now and in the future, coordinators must start with six core elements to impress attendees and likely win their repeat business.
1. Content is king
What happens at the event – what is shared, what is taught, what is presented – answers the question why people are there in the first place. Learning content at a training event should must inform, inspire, motivate, and move.
Consider what content appeals to you and how it can best be presented. (Some ideas here.) Review your content and see if it moves you. If it doesn’t, what might make it more compelling?
2. Venue is queen
The training event’s location ranks near the top of the list with content when it comes to elements that impact events. Attendees bring a baseline expectation of the meeting space, though it certainly varies by type of event. Exceeding that expectation creates a positive visual and physical reference forever linked with your function.
If possible, choose a venue that is unique or non-traditional. Upgrading or being creative with the venue might prove challenging due to budget constraints, technology needs, and even accessibility, but finding stimulating or unusual environs elevate a training event’s impact.
3. Technology is a dual-edged sword
Technology often creates the most memorable aspect of events, just not always in the fashion intended. When done correctly, technology can be an event highlight.
Sometimes the lighting, visuals, audio, or special effects create a positive physical experience associated with the event. Work with a good AV team and you might realize the latter. AV pros are always looking for the next best thing, and always looking for an event where they can showcase it.
4. Food & Beverage adds spice
In querying a friend about a training event, think about how early in their response they mention the quality of the food, good or bad. The food and beverage component of an event may constitute just a fraction of the itinerary, but our taste buds and stomachs carry disproportionate sway in our assessment of the function.
This is a challenge probably better left in the hands of the caterers or on-site professionals. Rely on their expertise to determine things like buffet, box or plated; portion size; balance; healthiness; and special dietary requirements. Your due diligence might involve making sure their food looks and tastes good.
5. Activities engage
Large training events with exhibitors will often arrange “scavenger hunts” that encourage attendees to visit the exhibit space. It’s a simple activity that provides exhibitors with the face time they seek, but it probably won’t create any buzz from attendees.
Activities that immerse participants deeper into the content of the event engage attendees and often produce a more favorable imprint. Table activities spark group interaction and even competition. Crowd polling elicits further interaction. Graffiti boards allow for thought-provoking posts. And hands-on activities – such as building something – might reinforce the content or promote team-building
6. Customer service ices the cake
A large training event is a service being provided to customers. The care, convenience, and comfort in the delivery of that service are typically the first and last impression your event will make.
Extraordinary customer service can push an ordinary event into a more exalted status. Make registration as convenient and effortless as possible. Keep attendees informed, and always be responsive and accessible from sign up to sign out.
If you manage training programs large and small, please contact us to discuss how we might help with the registration portion of it.