Six essential tips for successful training days

Group in training session
Set the agenda, find the location, deliver the right results. Read these tips to ensure your team get the most out of a training session or away day and leave feeling motivated...

The IoD Academy at 116 Pall Mall was opened in September 2017 to meet the changing the requirements of businesses that wanted a training centre in a Central London location.

It is a purpose built, state-of-the-art facility with two flexible training suites that can accommodate up to 40 people, along with coaching rooms, AV equipment, a separate reception, breakout areas and private access, a refuelling station and barista bar.

Through our experience, we understand what methods of training can work for different businesses and individuals. And, with that in mind, here are six essential tips for getting the most of out of a training session...


Setting the Agenda

"People want guidance, not rhetoric; they need to know what the plan of action is and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it." Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

If you’re the person responsible for organising the training event, you may have a set of objectives which will define the decisions you make.

Sharing these objectives in advance will allow the team time to consider how they can get the most out of the event.

You should seek feedback and input from your team and the event sponsor before finalising the agenda, learning outcomes, facilitators, guest speakers, location, timings and learning environment.

For example, there may a fundamental issue around a specific area of development or wellbeing that you might not be aware of and this could provide the ideal opportunity in which to address it ahead of the event.

A Collective Approach

“Those that came before you did not have to think so consciously about actively navigating their lives through so many distinct changes, or indeed developing their capacity for transition.” The 100-Year Life

There is still a tendency within some organisations to work in silos. In other words, ‘this is your skill set, this is what you’re good at, this is what you know and don’t know’. A training event provides an ideal opportunity for the team to hear some new voices.

Bringing people from other departments to share their experiences can cultivate fresh ideas, new working practices and innovative ways of thinking.

We are repeatedly being told there is no such thing as a job for life. A training day should be the starting point for encouraging staff to think about what new skills they need to learn. Those skills could be applied both within their existing role, but can also give them a basic understanding of other roles within the business.

Again, by bringing in people across different departments you can start to analyse where skills can be transferred. It is worth remembering that an employee who is cross-trained will be able to provide good cover should a colleague need to take time off.

Make a Lasting Impression

“Empowerment isn't a buzzword among leadership gurus. It's a proven technique where leaders give their teams the appropriate training, tools, resources, and guidance to succeed.” John Rampton

How often does a training event fail to deliver a lasting impact? The team goes back to work the following morning feeling invigorated and full of ideas, but then they have to wade through all the emails they have missed. Within a day or two everyone simply reverts back to their old routine.

Therefore, it is worth setting clear objectives and goals that can form part of an individual or team performance review. In turn, this will determine whether the training event delivered meaningful short, medium and even long-term benefits. It is also worth scheduling a follow-up training event a few weeks after the initial one to ascertain what has or hasn’t been applied back in the workplace and whether any further training is required.

The importance of feedback

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Bill Gates

Make sure you build in time to ask for feedback from attendees prior to, during and post event. That way you will get a holistic view of how well the event has gone and if it met the objectives you have set.

Work with the event sponsor to craft the questions and ensure you have a good mix of quantitative and qualitative which address the content, facilitator, and of course the all aspects of the learning environment you have chosen.

Learn from the Experts

“I felt that I had 80% per cent of the bridge built but what the IoD gave me was that last 20 per cent. The Chartered Director qualification gave me the respect of others and there was evidence to show I was formally trained.” - William English CBE

It isn’t just about team training. If you’re looking to continue your own personal development, and make the step up to senior management, then all IoD development programmes are designed and delivered by directors for directors, meaning you can benefit from world-class content and impactful delivery.

The portfolio of learning and development programmes has been created to boost your development as a director or senior leader of your organisation and ensure your leadership skills are kept up to date.


Location. Location. Location.

“I didn’t yet know that taking a long walk was his preferred way to have a serious conversation.” - Author Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs

The last thing you want to do is host a training day in an environment that looks an awful lot like your office. You want the team to be stimulated by their surroundings. Most of us are working longer hours than ever before, so this is also a chance to get away from what is known as The Tyranny of Email.

You may find a great space for the actual training but also consider your surroundings. Are there places of interest nearby? Does the building have good WiFi? Can people go for walking meetings between sessions? Are there breakout spaces? Is there a good range of food and beverage options to cater for all dietary requirements?

Also, increasingly more businesses are thinking about how they can create the right environment for meetings and away days. Here are five tips for making your meetings healthier and more productive.

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The IoD Academy is 116 Pall Mall’s purpose built, state-of-the-art training facility. This space on our third floor includes two flexible training suites, coaching rooms, audio-visual equipment, a separate reception, breakout areas, private access via our stunning refurbished lift, alongside a refuelling station and barista bar.

To book or for more information, make an enquiry