Excellent places to learn – What modern seminars need!

Be interactive instead of frontal lectures, take votes with smartphones instead of sticky notes, swap routine with emotions, theory with relevance, and tiredness with energy: as the formats of seminars are changing, so are the space and service requirements.

“Out-of-town” seminars and trainings designed based on the latest findings from educational neuroscience, achieve higher success in terms of both learning and application at the workplace. In fact, most trainers have adapted their programmes to this new format. Ice breakers, alternating small groups – and plenary work, improvised theatre, simulations, Connect Lounges and Bar Camps have all (nearly) become a matter of course as seminar formats.

Personnel developers and learning departments have also begun to devote more attention to these findings and are demanding interactive and business-related trainings in their tenders and inquiries. We as trainers of ARC Innovation look back at many years of experience with modern, interactive methods and use this experience to give relevant advice to our clients. All well and good, you may think.

However, ideals and reality are widely separated when it comes to choosing the training venue. The ability to sense a (striven) modern company culture in contemporary seminars is nowhere to be seen in the list of selection criteria. Instead, the internal training room is automatically reserved or a standard hotel with a good home-style cooking is booked or a luxury hotel with a spa, which usually remains unused, is chosen. The key question as to whether the choice of training room, fittings and even service should do justice to the scheduled seminar and even the company image is often disregarded.

If, instead of a seminar hotel, a conventional hotel primarily geared to private guests were reserved, then the venue rooms, as most in-house training rooms, would often not fulfil the needs of seminar attendees and trainers. In the training room, there are two flimsy flip charts standing in the corner with cheap paper and worn felt-tip pens in standard colours, the projector on a stool, the screen sometimes still on a tripod, tables arranged in a U-shape, and the hotel notepad, pen and glass positioned at every seat; this is unfortunately the sort of still life from a long-gone era which I still encounter as a trainer in interpersonal communication. However, I have recently been finding more interactive screens in training rooms to replace the good old projector, something which makes my trainer’s heart jump for joy. Disillusionment kicks in quickly though, because there’s nobody to give me a quick introduction to the technology.

But what is the recipe for success when choosing the venue for modern seminars?

Clients, attendees and trainers agree that out-of-house seminars are extremely beneficial to learning. If a routine is broken, attendees usually find it considerably easier to put their private and professional everyday life out of their minds for 1 – 3 days and become fully immersed in the training content. A professional seminar hotel in quiet surroundings is also viewed among attendees as employers’ recognition for their employees.

So what is the picture of the ideal training venue which utilizes collective intelligence and stimulates emotional intelligence to enable efficient learning with long-term effects?

Some large-scale hotel chains in European metropolises have already prepared themselves for the needs of the “New Work” generation: for example, the Pullman Berlin offers inspiring and generous working atmospheres with various seating elements, retreats and break zones all under one great green shield of foliage accompanied by gentle bird twittering www.pullmann-berlin-schweizerhof.com.  The Scandic Hotel chain has trained 500 meeting advisors who are experts on the latest venue formats and develop individual solutions with clients and trainers www.scandichotels.de In Germany, there has been a connection of highly specialised conference hotels which strengthen learning success through an optimal spatial environment on https://www.exzellente-lernorte.de/ In France, the chain called Châteauform offers everything needed for running a modern seminar in a spectacular atmosphere  https://www.chateauform.com/fr/ In Alsace, interesting training locations are under construction, in first-rate hotels.

Alongside innovative room designs, service is also a key factor. The needs of trainers and participants are very different to those of private guests. This is an area where hotel staff members need training. As a trainer, I expect professional and individual care before, during and after a seminar. It is very important to me that the logistics work correctly and that I can rely on the service staff for things such as room fittings and furnishings, technology, flexibility, observance of breaks and meal times and drinks service. I can then fully focus on the group and training content.

The quality of the food also has a decisive effect on the group dynamics, such as the pedagogical animation of the seminar. Light and healthy snacks and a healthy selection of lunches to suit all tastes, preferably with a creative twist, effectively prevent the usual lethargy after the lunch break. As with the seminar design and content, we also achieve maximal attention from attendees through design, functionality and service which are unexpected, surprising, new and emotional.

We as trainers of ARC Innovation stand for seminars and training courses with long-term positive after-effects. This includes the choice of harmonious, adapted learning venues. You are invited to arrange a virtual appointment with us and we will happily give you comprehensive advice.

We firmly believe that a well-chosen seminar venue accounts for at least 20% of success indicators. This is also measurable; using predetermined KPIs (key performance indicators), we systematically measure the success of the training measure, including the venue.

I am looking forward to meeting you.

Petra Bleschke