Conducting workshops might be your primary business as a trainer. And to conduct your training, you may have to travel to different cities. Some trainers have a support system that helps them organize the event, find a place for the workshop, manage the attendees, etc. In some cases, you may be forced to do it all by yourself. If you are just starting up, you may have no one else to support you. This guide will help you figure out how to bring together your workshop to minimize disruptions and maximize learning.
Know your audience
Creative people would appreciate an inspired space. Typically unstructured, informal and a large area works best for the creative types. Hiring an art studio would be a good idea when you plan to train artistic people. Los Angeles is filled with plenty of art studios, open space venues and outdoor schools that fit well with the imaginative kind.
If you are looking at an elite crowd, an impressive long table boardroom in Washington would be your best bet. It is essential to understand who your audience is before you can look for a workshop space. Secondly, it is also vital to know how many people are expected at the event. If you are conducting an event for a company, they can give you the numbers. However, if you are holding a workshop on your own, figure out a realistic participant size. You can base the estimation on ticket sales, RSVPs, etc. Nothing looks worse than a half-empty hall when you start your presentation.
Know your workshop needs
It will not make any sense to hold a workshop on pottery in a boardroom. Likewise, teaching how to crunch numbers of a blue chip company may not be best accomplished in an outdoor setting. Identify all your needs for conducting a workshop and create a checklist. When you go hunting for a place, crosscheck to see if it meets most or all of the items on your list. Sometimes, you may have to hire extra equipment from outside, and that is ok as long as you have identified it ahead of time.
Most workshop places have a flexible floorplan giving you a choice in the seat planning. It is crucial to choose a plan that causes minimal disruption when people move around. And more importantly, if people need to interact with other participants, they should have enough space to expand on the floor plan that you have chosen. For example, if you need to break the attendees into groups of five for certain exercises, it would be better to arrange the chairs in groups of five around a table. This way, your attendees are automatically in groups of five, and if needed, they can switch to another table with minimal disruption.
Here are a few excellent workshop spaces to give you an idea of what to look for when trying to find meeting rooms in Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
a. Bridgeport Gallery And Event Space, Chicago
A Gallery space located in the McKinley Park/Bridgeport area of Chicago, Bridgeport Gallery and Event Space, would be an excellent place to hold an artistic or creative workshop. It is easily accessible from I55 and I90/94 and has free parking. It has all the necessary AV equipment for a workshop and even has comfortable lounging areas to relax.
b. DTLA Studio, Los Angeles
If you want a big space to do your workshop in Los Angeles, this is the one for you. DTLA Studio is located on the sixth floor of a commercial property in Downtown Los Angeles Fashion District. A total of 6000 square feet gives you enough space for any kind of artistic workshop. It has basic plastic chairs and a PA system included in the price. This is best suited for creative endeavors.
c. 1800 Tysons Blvd, Washington DC
When you have to hold the attention of the DC elite, Convene at 1800 Tysons Blvd is the right place to hire. Located just 25 minutes away from the Downtown DC area, this venue is also accessible from Metro through the Silver Line Metro station which is right opposite to the building. Fitted with the state-of-the-art AV equipment and a contemporary design, it can hold up to 200 delegates at a time, making it perfect for workshops and briefings.
Once the location and audience are sorted, go back to the checklist to see what extras need to be brought from the outside. It may be just posters, pens, and notebooks, or it could be something more elaborate like getting manuals printed, ID cards for the attendees, hiring support staff, etc. The key is in the planning, more time you spend on analyzing the needs and ticking off items from your checklist, the easier it will be to conduct the workshop. A well-planned workshop will not only make your participants happy, but it will also spur good word-of-mouth publicity, for free. So get started on that checklist and make your training a grand success.