After a long time away from delivering workshops in-person, next week will be my first time in ages training with real people in front of me! Truthfully it has been a long time coming because I don’t believe you can truly replicate a buzzing learning environment online, but I’ve been reluctant simply because online training is just so damn convenient. Plus, it has been nice to avoid dealing with room bookings, travel and finally, building the dreaded ‘training toolbox’!
Now that I have spent a while filling the box and preparing for this training, I thought it might be useful to other budding trainers out there to see what I’ve got, and also, to receive some tips on what I’m missing. Note, you obviously don’t need everything but hopefully you can find some gems that you hadn’t considered. Without further ado, let’s dig in to the bag. Note, not all of this fits into the box, but it’s what I’ll be taking next week!
Stanley Toolchest (£43.99) — typically used for actual tools, this chest is large enough to store most of the kit. I wish I’d listened to Jose Casal and got the bigger version — he was right! Getting the box size right is important, and I’d recommend you find one that is able to withstand baggage handling and add a lock onto for international travel.
Branded Tablecloth (£50) — Vistaprint made it for me with a few design inputs. Showing students that you are a professional brand and trainer is important, and therefore being able to cover up the awful brown wooden tables many venues provide.
Flipchart and paper (£65) — even though they are commonly provided by venues, it never hurts to have another place to display information around the room. They aren’t very portable but are still useful.
Freebies (£) — everyone that comes to one of our classes gets a free book, a deck of Powerful Question cards, a chocolate bar, branded pens, a sticker, and a thank you card on the table when they arrive. It costs about £25 per student, but it really creates a great positive attitude to start the training.
Laptop (£?) — you’ll need a good one. Plugs are usually provided at most venues, but may not be within charger wire distance! Invest in a laptop that has a good battery life. I use the HP Spectre 360 and have been very impressed with its performance.
JBL Charge 5 (£150) — sometimes training rooms can be large, so playing music during breaks, sounds for timers and even video audio needs a bit more than your laptop speakers. The JBL Charge 5 is awesome as it’s got Bluetooth and holds a decent battery life.
Digital Timer (£40) — group activities are frequent in our training, and students need to know how long they’ve got left. You could use your laptop and an online tool to show on the projector, but then you can’t show the activity instructions. A large 17 inch timer is just the trick to have at the front — plus it plays a satisfying ‘BONG’ to indicate time’s up.
Adapters (£70) — carry what you can. VGA-HDMI, Windows display, male-female adapters, USB variants — you never know what you’re going to get and even then, just because a venue tells you something is present, doesn’t mean it actually will be. Be prepared.
You are going to consume stationery like crazy. Sticky notes, dot vote stickers, blue tack, pens (branded would be even better, because everyone will steal them), sharpies, masking tape, magnets and clips. Some of the more specific stationery items in the box are:
Magic Whiteboard (£25) — turn any surface into a whiteboard with a static, stickable roll of this. It’s small and portable and can really turn the room into something impressive after two days of work. The only downside to this is that it’s not particularly eco-conscious (lots of plastic) and even though it’s reusable on the day, it creases very easily so you won’t transfer it from one training to another.
Neuland Markers (£?) — Most trainers swear by Neuland markers and I agree. They are great quality markers for whiteboards and permanent drawings with a variety of colours and even better, they are refillable. I’d strong advise getting some of their chalks as well to really make your flip charts ‘pop’.
Speech Bubble Sticky Notes (£5) — great for check-outs between activities or reflection you may want to refer to later in the class. They can also work well for getting reviews or actionable takeaways for you to get the students to gallery walk between during breaks.
Self-standing Flip Chart Pad (£20ea.) — For group work on tables that requires collaborative resource creation, these portable flip charts are super helpful to give each group their own space.
Depending on the course, you’ll be printing different things. Lamination is worth the effort upfront so that activities are re-usable, alongside folders to keep them all separated and organised. Alongside that, consider how your students will take notes? Are you providing paper, notebooks or a designed workbook? Some students might even expect a printed copy of the slide deck that the class is built around, however we don’t provide this due to the environmental impact and also, I know it will end up in the bin or lost.
A small tip, when printing your materials make sure you include your brand name or logo. It really supports the professional image you are presenting.
And that’s it! What am I missing in the bag? Drop a comment below or send me an email!