One of the things that frustrates me about booking venues for workshops and training sessions is the way event coordinators manage space requirements. There seems to be a pattern to how event coordinators determine the space your group needs. For the most part the intentions of the event coordinators are well meaning. However, there are some fundamental challenges which I sometimes get bitten by when requests are not made strongly enough ahead of delivering a workshop or training session. Here are a list of challenges that we at CE often face:
Now we are getting much better at booking venues by following a set of heuristics. Note that these are primarily appropriate for workshop or training sessions that use complexity facilitation approaches and CE methods but I’m sure they are appropriate for other sessions requiring similar venue characteristics:
Now I’m sure other facilitators and trainers have other tips to add (please share if you do) but these seem to be some basic ones that we go to frequently now. We have learned through some errors and mistakes in past bookings, many of which were due to assumptions, however from time to time you also get burned. The photo on the right is from an event held at a Westin in Washington, DC and we unfortunately realised the extortionist cost of tea and coffee refreshes too late on day one to recover. At the end of the day when I had to approve the catering charges I realised that on both tea/coffee breaks we were being charged a fixed price of $85 for each break for the tea refresh alone not including coffee! Alarmed by this ridiculous fee I checked with the participants at the end of the day how many cups of tea were consumed… the answer was 3! Now contrast this to a very positive experience this week of hosting our training session at the Canadian Management Centre in Toronto we paid a flat fee of $45 per participant for a full day meal package. Our participants were given UNLIMITED access all day long to tea, coffee, filtered water, and soft drinks. The room was great too!
There is a peculiar populist product of our post-modern age which argues that chaos is ...