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Seb Anthony

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I have been putting together a few training sessions recently and have noticed that at the start I just make a note to run through 'Housekeeping' with the delegates - but I never actually specify exactly what I am going to say. (By housekeeping I mean things like location of coffee/tea, rules on smoking/food and drinks in the training room, what to do in the event of an emergency etc.) As a result - I tend to give a slightly different version each time! I would really like to make a definitive list and would be grateful if anyone would share with me exactly what they run through at the start of each course.
Lucy Sleigh

10 Responses

  1. Here’s my list of domestics
    Hi Lucy

    This is a good idea – I tend to do it off the cuff, too, and then there is always a danger you may get sidetracked and miss something vital!

    I include:

    *Fire exits and procedures (also add if you know there is going to be an alarm test)
    *Personal safety and security (personal belongings as well as any internal security arrangements such as badges etc)
    *Mobile phones to be turned off and what will happen to any messages received at the venue for participants
    *Course timings (especially latest finish time!)
    *Coffee/tea/lunch arrangements along with approx timings (I always ask if anyone needs to eat at a certain time, for people with diabetes)
    *Smoking regs
    *If it’s a residential course an outline of what the company will pay for and what they must pay for themselves
    *Facilities at the venue (gym, pool etc if in a hotel)
    *Who to speak to in case of any problems with rooms, bills etc
    *I also give them an opportunity to ask any questions at that point.

    I think that’s it. Hope this helps. It will be interesting to see what other trainers include.


  2. Good list
    Jenny’s list is a good one. I’d always add where the bathrooms are (and that there’s no need to put your hand up) and where people can smoke during breaks if they must.

    For our own learning facility we give workshop facilitators a laminated list that helps them to remember what has to be said for H&S and what’s good to say for personal comfort. I supppose it’s not a bad idea to carry your own checklist in your toolbox as it can be tough to remember what you’ve said each day when you’re running lots of courses.

  3. Housekeeping
    Don’t forget equality proofing. For example there may have to be a caveat on mobile phones going off if you have working parents who need to stay in touch with schools,nurseries or similar.Discreet mode. You might need to ensure other equality and diversity factors are built in around the date/duration because of religious or cultural or other considerations

    And of course the catchall at the end asking anybody has any fresh items or indeed queries


  4. Group Dynamics
    Hi Lucy

    This might not qualify as strictly “housekeeping”, but
    as an addition to the “hard” housekeeping items like what is the fire procedure, I also include a 2-3 minute direction to the delegates about group dynamics, like everyone taking an active interest in group discussions/exercises; having respect for what other people have to say; and of course for them to enjoy the course!

  5. Equality issues
    Jennifer makes a good point about ‘equality proofing’ the housekeeping. Her example of working parents needing to keep their mobiles on in case of emergencies however raises some other diversity issues. There are all sorts of perfectly understandable reasons why individuals may need to keep their phones on, but this equally applies to people who are not parents. As a trainer, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to decide whose reason is justifiable and whose isn’t. I therefore tend to make the request that phones are turned off, or at least set to silent mode, but then leave it to the discretion of the individual.

  6. Housekeeping
    >>>As a trainer, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to decide whose reason is justifiable and whose isn’t>>>

    I agree this has nothing to do with equality or valuing the diversity of those who may not/ cannot have offspring – it offers preferential treatment and discrimination. We all have important calls we’d like to take, employers generally have long standing policies on private calls during work time – wmany have been in operation before mobiles we invented.

  7. laminated pictures
    I like to use laminated pictures for housekeeping. These include items such as mobile phones, fire extinguishers, teacups, knives and forks, cigarettes, etc. By attaching blue tack to the back, you can add them to a flipchart, wall etc. This ensures that you give each group the same housekeeping info and don’t miss antything out. You can adapt them depending upon the venue etc. Hope this helps. Liz

  8. Some other things
    Jennifer’s list is good, as are the other suggestions. I’d recommend making a generic checklist too. It’s one less thing to think about as the pre-show nerves kick in!

    A couple of things you might add:

    Beforehand – Are you really sure you know any special admin requirements that they may have raised? If someone has asked at registration for say, time in the afternoon to pray, they are going to be a bit peeved if they have to ask you again. Watch out for last minute bookings in this context.

    Welcome – don’t forget the big smiling greeting in the rush to sort out the admin!

    Comfort – tell them to say so if it’s too warm, cold, dark bright etc. British delegates will often sit in uncomfortable silence when the tutor could have adjusted temperatures at the flick of a switch.

    Seating – you may laugh, but I’ve had delegates sit for hours on poorly-adjusted seats because they couldn’t work out how to raise or lower the base/adjust the back etc.

    A reminder of room check-out times if the course is residential.

    Who to approach for help (tutor/admin staff/venue staff)? And make sure that any admin staff you may have are briefed to be helpful and approachable, and to take charge of a problem.

  9. access issues
    Just to add to the useful lists, it is helpful to describe the layout of the venue, ie. where the exits, refreshments, toilets are, instead of just pointing, for visually impaired people. It is also worth asking if everyone can hear as sometimes people will not want to raise any barriers themselves. It is also worth mentioning that alternative formats are available e.g large print (should be anyway!) if it is a session where people’s access requirements are not known in advance. Probably not relevant for most training sessions, but if there is a possibility of flash photography being used, check with participants for their permission or have procedures to allow for people who don’t want to be included or could be affected by flash.

    I like the idea of laminated pictures, but some visually impaired people won’t be able to access the information so there needs to be a backup if there are unknown people attending or even, as sometimes happens, people come as last minute substitutes, whose access requirements haven’t been identified earlier.

    Hope this is helpful, interesting discussion!

    Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group

  10. housekeeping
    Dear Lucy, I cover the following: I welcome people to the training they are participating in and say who I am. Then I comment that I’ll be saying more about both in a moment. As house keeping I go onto cover what to do in a fire, where the loos are, where people can smoke, the times of the breaks and of the end of the training, I ask for mobiles to be switched off unless needed on for childcare reasons. After this I spend time saying who I am and how my background is relevant to the training. I then do a round of names from the participants and one thing they hope to get from the day or similar comment. Next is producing a group agreement and running through the content and timetable for the day. This sounds quite long winded, but I train people around sensitive issues and often they haven’t been in a ‘classroom’ since leaving school. I’ve found that this time builds safety and trust which gives a dividend later on through greater participation and a willingness to take risks. Hope that helps! I’ll be interested to see what you end up with. Peter


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