We work on a lot of corporate training meetings and the one factor we’ve found that is the most important to their success is where you have the meeting. It may seem counter-intuitive, but there have been psychological studies that show people learn better when they enjoy the surroundings. We like to call it “thinking outside the ballroom.” While hotel ballrooms are good for certain events, they are not ideal for a corporate training. At the very least try to have it in a room with windows with a good view. We prefer outdoor locations when possible. Think about locations that you might not necessary correlate with events. Recently we had an event at the Crocker & Starr Vineyard who’d never hosted corporate events before we brought our group there.
This venue was perfect for our group who worked for a food company. We paired it with some events at the nearby Culinary Institute of America. This was a great place for executives to learn; they deal with food all day long, so we brought them back to their roots: cooking. While outside in the vineyard they met the owner who talked about the location and wine making. Put yourself in the client’s shoes when selecting a venue. Where would they like to go? What locations have a special meaning to the company history? What location might they benefit from seeing? We recently produced a training for a company that makes airplane engines (among many other things.) Early on in their history, they had tested their first engines from Pikes Peak. So we gathered them in Colorado Springs and had an executive talk about the company history. Giving this back story got the attendees more invested in where they were, and consequently, increased the effectiveness of their learning. It inspired the attendees and helped engagement tremendously.
Historic locations are also great ways to inspire your attendees. When we have groups in Europe we love to take them to Chateauform properties, which are typically old castles or historical buildings that have been converted into meeting spaces. Most have outdoor locations where attendees can soak up some sun while they learn.
So the next time you have a corporate training event, take the time to reflect and come up with a special, unique location to host your group.