6 ways to make the most of your conference venue

Kevin Penner

6 ways to make the most of your conference venue

Training room ideas worth trying

You’ve booked your training room. Your buffet and coffee breaks are all timed to perfection. The keynote speaker is all set up, and your visual aids and sound system are ready and waiting. Now, how do you keep your attendees on task and on target so they can make the most of the information being communicated to them?

Here are some points that will help keep your training event moving forward:

1. Bring a clear message

First, it’s important to provide a clear message at your opening keynote and set the expectation of what the whole event is going to look like from start to finish. On balance, it’s a good idea to break each topic down into bite-sized categories and have the notes for the meeting on a central page within your website for easy download. Having all the notes typed and organized helps to keep the eyes and attention of attendeeds looking forward.

2. Make the notes downloadable

On balance, Powerpoint, Open Office, and many of their competitors generally have an easy way to create PDF versions of the presentations created. To keep things simple, use these PDF’s as the notes, and provide them to your administration prior. Collect everyone’s email address prior to the meeting and send the PDF notes quickly following the meeting. Give each speaker a time and keep a tight agenda. Most importantly, limit question time at the end of each session. Rather, have the speaker provide their twitter for public questions and Whatsapp for one on one questions.

3. Practical application vs correspondence learning

types of learning styles – photo courtesy of joandragonfly

Remember those correspondence classes they used to offer in school? Most found them super boring. Why? Because 51% of students don’t have the capacity to learn by written instruction. Only 25% of the population remember something they heard. 40% can recall something they learned visually, and 15% learn best through hands-on (kinesthetic). So what does this mean for your training room? The point is, you really need to plan to provide a form of auditory, visual and hands-on at each and every training session. If you’re truly wanting to have people retain and act on what you are teaching, go beyond the standard classroom approach.

4. Plan for breaks between sessions

Providing 20-minute breaks between sessions can seem counter-intuitive for an effective day in your training room. However, by providing comfortable spots for people to have coffee and a health break, often the group naturally starts talking and rehashing what they have just learned. By allowing this process to naturally occur, you are helping to reinforce what was just shared in the classroom.

To this end, if the sessions you have planned are longer than 40 minutes, have them take a 2-minute stand and stretch break. Some people will get a chance to rush off to the washrooms. Regardless, giving them the ability to get some movement in will supply some fresh oxygen to the brain and make what is being presented fresher.

5. Time for testimonials

Provide a time for the veterans in the rooms to share their real-world experiences. In other words, provide opportunities for interaction between the new and longer experienced to share back and forth. It is during these times that you’ll see the lightbulbs turn on for some of the newer people within the group. Taking advantage of the wisdom in the room can lead to some really valuable experiences. Sooner or later you will find someone in the group that has a real grasp on a topic. He or she may very well be your next keynote and the next training event you book!

6. Grade their knowledge

At this point, after you have gone through all the time and expense of putting on an event, it’s important that you get measurable feedback on the effectiveness of your training. Tests take time to create and implement. There is no better way to measure your effectiveness unless you do a thorough test nearing the end of your day or event. If you want to provide them an online version why not try a service like QuizRevolution.  Make the tests fun, break it into manageable chunks and make it multiple choice for easy grading.

7. Spend time correcting the misconceptions

Of course, you will want to spend time with each student reviewing what they got wrong on the test.  Make sure they understand the concept before sending them back into the group. You can make your quiz less scary by throwing a bit of fun into the mix.  After testing and grading it’s best to have your last training session review all the questions people got wrong.  Most importantly, ensure the correct answers are made clear to everyone.

8. What happens at meal times

Make sure the venue you select for your training room does a good job on the food. For example, if you choose to go with a buffet meal you will find that people get their meals faster and it provides more time for interaction between attendees. If you want to really make your event memorable after lunch have the next session start as an activity. Golf courses, curling rinks or white water rafting create a lot of positive buzz inside any training room event. All in all, social interaction is an important part of any training and it’s important to keep people excited about the events you produce.

Where can you find this kind of training room?

Retreat Centre’s like Wilderness Edge Retreat and Conference Centre offers training rooms and most everything else talked about in this article.

Looking for training rooms in Manitoba?  You can rely on Wilderness Edge for all your business get-togethers, meetings, and training sessions.  We offer five different meeting and event spaces, food and drink service, which can be booked for social gatherings as well as a host of outdoor activities.  Call us today: 1-204-753-2535.

What you should do now

1. If you’d like us to host your group event — to dramatically improve your retreat, conference or gathering experience and build stronger human connections (like we did for all those groups), then claim your FREE Group Consult session. On this free phone consultation, one of our group retreat experts will discuss your goals and suggest a plan of action to increase your satisfaction rating from any previously held group event.

2. If you’d like to learn more about experiential group events and building stronger human connections on your own for free, go to our “Learning Zone” page, where you can download templates of winning group retreat outlines. Or, if you’d like us to build your organizations in-house capabilities (not for free), then contact us and we’ll discuss your requirements.

3. If you’d like to work for us—or see why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.

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Wilderness edge amenities
Group of people

Large meeting rooms


143 guest rooms


Catered meals

Location pin

One hour from Winnipeg

Located in Pinawa, East Whiteshell Provincial Park


25+ outdoor activities

Rafting, canoe rentals, snow boarding, hiking trails, etc.


Team building

Rafting, canoe rentals, snow boarding, hiking trails, etc.

High tempurature

Hot tub

Spa / sauna


Parked car

Free Parking

Fire pit





Walking trails

Convenience store

Convenience store

Credit card

nearby ATM


Golf Course

Umbrella on a beach



Pickle ball

Tenis ball


Plan everything in one place

A super simple dashboard for you and your attendees

Pair of people

Easily share with anyone

Open book

Attendee self sign-up option


Special organizer pricing

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