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Five people to befriend for your training event to run smoothly


As events season gets into full swing, it's worth building relationships with the right people to make sure your event runs without a hitch, says Richard Edwards.

Training events can be a fun and useful way to get to know your staff a little better and to help them gain a deeper understanding of your business - if the event is well-executed, that is. The secret to a truly smooth-running training event is to get on friendly terms with key members of staff at your venue. It is an obvious fact of life that friends do favours for friends and, despite the venue’s desire for repeat business, what the staff do or don’t do for you is largely their prerogative. Therefore, it always pays to befriend those on the inside.

Is it possible to pull off a seamless training event without going to the effort of befriending the venue staff? Of course. However, if anything goes wrong, you will be relying on their help to smooth it over - and more often than not, something does go wrong. So who should you get in with in order to make your event go off without a hitch? Here are our top five suggestions:


The easiest people to get along with will be the management. Easy, not because they are all super nice people, but because there are relatively few of them and they are often the people most enthusiastic to make a good impression. The management team has risen to that level because they are trusted by the venue owners to represent the business and provide great customer service. Use this to your advantage to get them on-side.

If you need more chairs or stationery, for example, they are the people who will decide whether it is possible - and with what quality, speed and discretion they can be sourced.


Caterers are a bit more numerous, making them a tad trickier to befriend. However, you will probably be given a single point of contact for the catering team, so they are always a good place to start. All too often at training events you will find that person who forgot to mention a food allergy or other food restriction. It may well be their responsibility for not having mentioned it on any one of the many occasions they were asked, but that won’t stop them getting moody if you can’t supply an alternative.

This is just one example of a situation that event teams regularly have to deal with and which requires the support of the catering staff. Having them on-side means that you can quickly solve issues like this, ensuring your guest can relax and enjoy their meal.

Activity coordinators

You may not have any activities planned for your training event – often they can be unnecessary – but for training events like team-building days they are absolutely essential. Activities put on by a professional events company or venue staff will come with specialist equipment, rules and a dedicated coordinator, making them far more engaging.

Anyone who has been on a team-building day will know that the activity coordinators have the ability to either win over your skeptical staff or to completely ruin your day. If you’re met by outgoing and enthusiastic staff with a welcoming smile then your training event will be off to a good start. If the activity coordinators seem overly stressed then a negative feeling can quickly settle over the whole day.

If you are friendly and flexible with the activity coordinators then they’ll be more relaxed and friendly around you and, by extension, your guests.

Support staff

The most challenging group to win over - due to their large numbers, but the support staff are no less important. They are the ones who can really make or break your event and they have the least to lose if they screw up. In the grand scheme of things, would it really matter to the 19 year-old moving furniture around if he was fired from his minimum wage job? It would certainly matter more to the manager who has spent 15 years building up their career, or the caterer who has invested their entire reputation on their catering abilities.

Making friends with the support staff can transform how they perceive you and therefore how they will behave. If you are rude or harsh speaking to them then they will see you as just another corporate client they have to deal with, and they will simply ‘deal’ with your guests. If, however, they see you as a real person and understand the aims of your training event then they are much more likely to help your guests with a smile and polite chat, allowing your guests to feel happy and at ease.

Technical support

There is little else that has the power to ruin a training event like technology. If all runs smoothly no one will notice, but if it all mysteriously stops working then you’ll be left high and dry - and that will be very noticeable.

The guardians protecting that from happening (and sorting it all out quickly if the worst does happen) are the technical support team. These wizards are notoriously clique-y and difficult to get on-side. The key is to win their respect by being accurate, specific and concise with your technical requirements and leave them to plan the logistics. It is a good idea to go to them with an outline of your technical specifications for the day, so they know which cables you are using to connect what technology. With this information to hand they can quickly respond to any problems – running in with just the right cable or remote control for the equipment you are using.

Training event management is a tricky affair, one that only gets easier over time. In our experience it’s the people at the venue that can really make a big difference and getting them on-side makes the biggest positive difference of all. They can make or break your event – so making friends with them isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential.

Richard Edwards is director of Quatreus Ltd. Quatreus specialises in creating face to face experiences that strengthen relationships and improve communication – for both internal and external audiences. Activities include customer facing events and activities, exhibitions, trade-shows, road-shows and interactive experience centres, as well as conferences, AGMs, and staff and stakeholder engagement programmes


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