There is a saying amongst realtors that the 3 most important variables while choosing a home or an office are location, location & location! And how true is that for learning events? Whether you are the host or the facilitator or the participant, a beautiful venue enables learning and serves as a “prop”. In yoga, a prop is used to access a posture that your body cannot support by itself. In the same way, a venue can enable learning to happen and settle.
So, what are the important things to look for in a venue while planning a learning event? As a long time coach and facilitator, here is my 5 point checklist for identifying and choosing a venue:
1. Quiet – look for a space that has low ambient noise and no distractions. The absolute horror is having random people walk in and out of the learning space.
2. Light & Air – while it is wonderful to have climate controlled spaces (with heaters and air conditioners), I love facilitating in spaces that have natural light and air circulation
3. Cleanliness – I have facilitated sessions on a sand floor under a thatched roof – all of which had been swept clean, smelled fresh & inviting and had no clutter! Make sure you arrive early and pay attention to creating a space that is welcoming and safe for the participant. A few years back, I participated in an intense self-discovery process and the space was such a support that we (the other participants and I) used to call it “the womb”!
4. Roominess – Have you even been to a workshop or a session where everyone is packed into the room? Can you remember how cramped and uncomfortable you felt? I recommend that you ensure there is enough room for your participants to stretch their legs and even swap seats when they feel. For longer events, it is nice to give participants the options of sitting on the floor or on a chair!
5. Access to nature – The best venues are those amidst nature and I don’t think I need to explain why. That is the big appeal of venues like Goa, Bali, Thailand – all venues with sandy beaches and warm ocean water – as go-to destinations for trainings, workshops and retreats! Even when I do a city event, I prefer a venue that is surrounded by greenery or running water – in my experience, nature heals & soothes and allows the learning to be internalised.
Taking care in choosing a venue will serve you well as a host and facilitator – you will deliver effective and well-received events for your participants and enjoy the experience yourself too!
Location, Location, Location!