I recently received this email:
"My major concern in planning and delivering teambuilding is the location. You may find this a bit trivial, but this is the main problem."
Location is anything but trivial. Locatioin is very important to the success of the program. Here are some requirements for my IDEAL training location:
- Easy, free and secure parking on premises.
- Clean (esp. the bathrooms)
- Super helpful staff (of the facility)
- Nutritious food on grounds or close by. Must be vegetarian options (a salad bar doesn't count). Food is organic. Great food improves the program.
- Quiet location that also allows the group to get really loud (see story below).
- High ceilings in training room.
- Carpeted floors.
- Round tables with a large space at the back of the room for activities.
- Filtered water for participants.
- Easy access to outside grassy location for possible activities.
- Easy access to the training room from a loading area.
- Superb sound system.
- High speed wireless in all rooms.
Now that is my IDEAL. The reality is that I train in locations that might have only one or two of the points above. In this situation what I look for is facility staff that are very helpful and curteous. When the facility staff have a positive attitude I can make almost anything work.
Now for a true story about location...
A couple of years ago the State of North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice contracted with me to design and deliver a series of one day training events in different cities. There were about 100-150 people at each event, all of whom worked with court involved kids. The training was designed to help staff learn and lead teambuilding activities that promote life skills (communication, trust, leadership, conflict resolution, etc.). It was high energy and fun.
In one city, I delivered the training at a resort run by the Holiday Inn. They had me on a wing of the facility that housed all of the training rooms - - there were 6 large rooms with tall ceilings and accordian doors to make rooms bigger. I had rooms 1 and 2 and in room 6 there was a small grief counseling conference - they were discussing deep and important topics and were very quiet. On the other end of the wing, seperated by at least 3 large accordian walls was our group. Our event was loud (at times) and lots of fun. Talk about two ends of the spectrum!
After lunch I led the "Different Drum" activity with our group and people were laughing and having a big time. We got too loud and the leader of the grief group complained to the hotel. We were told to keep it quiet or else.
I sent out for flowers for the grief group and the hotel leader and also wrote an apology.
Now I know to tell the hotel or conference facility to put our group in the "it's OK to be loud" area.
I liked this comic on the "location, location, location" subject from GeekCulture.com (I'm a Mac user).