Last Updated on July 27, 2021

There are so many things to think about when organizing a training course event or workshop including the training room, the venue, refreshments, training materials, making sure the IT equipment works, and much more. In this guide below there’s lots of great info on how to organize a training workshop or session.

How to organize a training workshop

1. Arranging and Organizing the Training Venue

Unless you are providing the training in-house for a company, you will need to find the right venue and room, and there are a number of considerations you will need to make.

Furthermore, even if providing in-house training for a company, they often fail to provide everything that you as the trainer might need for the training day facilities-wise, so it is worth having a checklist to run through what you need to do.

You will need to make sure that you consider the following:

  • Training room scheduled/booked.
  • Finding out the contact information for venue support – i.e. key holder and I.T. support in case the computer network doesn’t work on the day.
  • Making sure that you provide participants clear entry information to get into the venue and training room on the day.
  • Disability access considered and discussed with the venue (ensure you, for example, know how to guide wheelchair users as needed on the training day or have access to someone in the venue who will help).
  • Discussing what food and refreshments provision that they can offer. Depending on whether you are running a two-hour, half-day, or full-day, refreshments may or may not be needed. At the very least though providing glasses and drinking water for participants is always a good idea.

2. Creating Or Buying the Training Course Materials

You will of course also need training materials and these should include:

  • Powerpoint slides and presentation (with teacher notes and the training activities included)
  • Students’ guide
  • Printable participants’ certificate
  • Teacher’s guide
  • Feedback form (to gather valuable feedback to continually improve your workshops)
  • Signing-in sheet for the workshop
Confidence teaching materials

(The above graphic shows an example of one of our training materials packages)

You can buy pre-made training course materials that include what’s shown in the image above, for example.

The other option is to design and use your own training materials.

When designing your own materials, there are generally two common situations here and these are:

  • You already have the materials available to you, i.e. you have taught this same topic before, or a colleague has provided you with good enough quality materials to use.
  • You are starting from scratch and will design the materials yourself. If this is the case, then make sure to read this post on How to Design Teaching Materials on PowerPoint.
Classroom lesson plans

3. Marketing the Training to Find Attendees

If you are a trainer independently creating and promoting your own training, you will need also to market your workshops and training sessions.

I have written a post dedicated to how to market yourself as a freelance trainer that you might find really useful.

If you are being hired or paid as a trainer for a company that already have people they need you to train, the need to market your training will not be necessary and you can skip this point.

4. Getting Yourself Prepared for the Training Session

In addition to preparing the training room, you will also need to prepare yourself personally for the training session.

  • Clean set of clothes.
  • Alarm set on watch or cellphone or both (try and be at the training venue at least 30 minutes before to ensure that you are not late on training day).
  • Carry a bottle of water (to moisten your throat during training in case it gets dry as you present).
  • I recommend having a batch of business cards printed to hand to anyone who might want one.
  • Have backups of your training materials (discussed further in extra tips below).

5. Setting up the Training Room

You will also need to think about planning for setting up the training room itself on the training day. Considerations will include:

  • Is there a sign on the door making it easier for participants to find the room.
  • Also, if you are permitted to by the venue, can you put up temporary signage from the building entrance to the training room?
  • Are there enough chairs? Do the chairs allow enough space for any wheelchair user to still navigate the room easily enough?
  • Give careful consideration to the the seating plan when giving training. You can read more here on our post on training room seating planning.Are there are computers in the training room that you will use, do they require a login and will someone ensure login is taken care of on the day? Find out!
  • Find out where the nearest fire exits are so that you are aware.
  • Ensure there are enough glasses and water for participants to help themselves to in the training room (you do not have to do this but it creates a better impression).
  • Make sure that the room temperate is moderate and, if possible, that there is some air flow.
  • Ensure that you know how to use the blinds or how to block direct sunlight into the room in case it becomes an issue.
  • If participants will use their own laptops during the training, are there enough power access points set up?

6. Training Day Checklist

  • Access key or other access information (and key holder telephone number for emergencies).
  • Key phone numbers (in case you need I.T support or aircon help etc).
  • Training course materials (including any handouts).
  • Name tags – and markers so that everyone can write their name on a tag.
  • Mobile phone (cellphone) fully charged (in case you need to, for example, call the building key holder on the day).
  • Make sure you have a whiteboard (if needed and make sure its wiped clean), markers, flip-chart (if needed), projector screen ready (if needed).
  • Your own laptop and power cable (don’t forget the power cable as I did one time).

7. Preparing the Participants’ Information

In addition to the preparation to ensure that the training location is taken care of, you will also need to prepare the participants. This list should help you:

  • Send an event reminder 72 hours before by, for example, emailing to say how you are looking forward to welcoming the participants and provide a reminder of the starting time and training location.
  • Provide parking information for participants for where to park at the venue or recommended nearby public car parks.
  • It can also be worth ensuring that they have a contact email or telephone number to call in case they have any issues finding the training venue and room.

8. Extra Tips

Do a Test Run

I personally try and visit the training room a day or two before if it is practical to do so, to check that I can set up my laptop and connect to a power source and to the overhead projector etc.

If using a room that is commonly used as a training room, then it is less of an issue as the facilities needed will be there.

Last Minute Catering Check

Follow-up with the catering provider (if providing refreshments) 72 hours before to just re-check that everything is in order.

Co-Training and Absent Co-Trainer

One of the most awkward situations you can potentially experience as a trainer is when you are working with another trainer to run the training together, and when the other trainer pulls out at the last minute.

It might even be on the morning of the training when you get the dreaded call to say that they are sick and cannot attend.

What I always recommend, to counteract the missing co-trainer situation, is to do the following:

  • Have a copy of the training materials for the FULL training session (meaning a copy of both yours and your co trainer’s notes and slides etc.)
  • Make sure you know how to teach the parts that your colleague would have taught. In other words, you should always ensure that you are able to provide the full treaining if needed.

Having Backups of the Training Materials Available

Do not rely on having your digital training materials just on one source, i.e. just on one USB drive or just on your online cloud space.

I recommend having access to any digital teaching materials from at least two sources. Perhaps one copy on your laptop and a copy available on an online cloud.

Have your own tips for preparing for giving training as a freelance or corporate trainer? Please add your comments at the bottom.

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Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds

Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.