The workshop was over. The delegates had long gone and Margaret Kerr was recovering with a cup of coffee. The room was strewn with sheets of flip chart paper, the debris of the buffet lunch and countless empty coffee cups covered every horizontal surface in the room. Margaret was drained. The workshop had been a tough one for a trainer; the delegates had all been sharp and smart; they had challenged her knowledge and demanded long explanations of the reasons behind the theories she was asking them to buy into. She looked at the bomb-site that was once an orderly training room and knew she didn't have the energy to do much more than crawl to her car. After all, she reasoned, the conference center cleaning staff would tidy up, wouldn't they.
Once the rooms are clear of delegates and you have bathed in the glory of a successful event, it is time to dismantle everything that you came with. As with the assembly process, it is useful to assign specific responsibilities to members of the event team and to manage the process as smoothly as possible. For larger events, keep a checklist of everything that needs to be done on a flip chart and, as items are completed, score them out. Using a clearly visible list like this gives everyone involved an easy reference and allows them to decide themselves how they can best help others once they have completed their own tasks.
If events are to be a frequent part of your life, you will want a venue to welcome you back with open arms. To make this a certainty, try as much as possible to leave the venue rooms as you found them, litter-free and ready for the cleaning staff to prepare them for the next users.
This may seem like common sense but you will be surprised how easy it is, at the end of a particularly stressful event, to follow the impulse to cut and run. Your reputation is worth more than a few sheets of paper.
Providing venue feedback
As you leave with the last load of equipment, make a point of contacting your conferencing contact at the venue. Show them your feedback from the evaluation forms; if they are worth their salt, they will be eager to read it. Add any feedback of your own, positive and negative but always leave a nice, juicy positive comment to the last and tell them you'll be back.
If you've had any particularly excellent service from the conferencing staff, make a point of following up your feedback with a thank you letter to the venue manager. A little careful attention to detail now will buy you royal treatment on your next visit.
Margaret was about to slide quietly away when her colleague Ben, walked in looking full of energy. Where do you get the energy, Ben? she asked. I pace myself he stated in a matter of fact way the day ain't over till it's over