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Dress the Room – by Wolfgang Halliwell

Posted July 11th, 2007

As soon as I walked into the room I knew this would be no ordinary training event.

Colourful posters adorned the wall. The tables were arranged into a cafeteria style. Each table had a small bowl of fruit instead of the usual mints. There were also a few colourful toys together with some coloured pencils and marker pens.

I also distinctly remember the lively and positive music being played – ‘I feel good’ by James Brown.

Never before had I experienced anything quite like this, and I really did feel good. This warm and welcoming atmosphere put me in exactly the right mood to participate and to learn and was the start of one of the best three day courses I have ever attended.

The experience had a big effect on me and from that time onwards I have always paid a lot of attention to setting up the venue before any training event. The aim is to help participants get into the right learning state in rich and multi-sensory way.

Although some people arrive looking a little puzzled and even suspicious I find that they soon put this to one side. Most soon have smiles on their faces and tend to respond positively when we start work.

Of course, it is not only the participants who benefit from this. By setting up a positive atmosphere it really does make me feel good and puts me in a positive mental state. This in turn benefits the learners who always get the best from me.

If you struggle to generate ‘life’ into your courses try giving extra thought into the way you set up the room. And, don’t forget the lively and positive music. This won’t breathe life into a lifeless but it’s a good start. Soon you will find yourself being more adventurous in the things you try during your training, and that will be to everyone’s benefit.

Wolfgang is an author of training course materials and resources for Trainer Bubble.

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