Step 5 - Orientation and Preparation

Credits Daniel O'Clunaigh, Carol Waters, Ali Ravi, Lindsay Beck, Chris Doten, Nick Sera-Leyva Last Updated 2016-03

This multi-part resource details the basics of the event planning process, built from the documented experience of several experienced trainers - among these steps are gathering inputs, analyzing these inputs, and their subsequent impact on the design, preparation and orientation of a training event.

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Event Logistics

Having a “fixer” or a point person to help with logistics questions or to take care of issues during the training is ideal. This person should be able to help provide answers to some of the venue selection process questions, etc. Otherwise, assign “roles” for each person involved in hosting the event to be responsible for handling particular tasks.

Devices

Be prepared to rent or borrow devices for the training if participants cannot provide their own. If renting, make sure the devices are up-to-date, functional, and rented from a trusted location. If borrowing (from the hosting org or elsewhere), confirm the same long before you arrive for the event.

Participant Visas (if needed)

This can be quite complex if participants are traveling to another country for the training where they are not residents. Ideally, you would partner with a local organization who can arrange these, and need to start the process of obtaining visas as far in advance as possible. Trainees often travel on tourist visas, but this can also vary. Keep in mind the wide range of sensitivities of participants, and confirm with each participant the process for obtaining their visa. In some cases, a visa request can put them in jeopardy in their home country due to the organization or country hosting the event. You may have to have local individuals as well who can help participants obtain a travel visa to visit an individual with no mention of the hosting organization.

Orientation and Preparation

It is best if the entire team delivering the training (trainers, organizers, logistics persons) can convene (either virtually or in person) in good time before the onset of the event, in order to discuss and gather further needed information. Typically, this would be the occasion where the organizers discuss the parameters of the event, and the trainers concentrate on the mitigating factors that might affect the event from a content side, such as the context and current events pertinent to the event itself.

At minimum, a gathering of all organizing team members immediately before an event should be viewed as a requirement of a successful training. Optimally, this gathering will be on location, prior to arrival of participants, during which the orientation and preparation will be uninterrupted, and will include review (or sometimes redesign) of the plans including the agenda and other aspects. Ideally, it will also include the team visiting the training venue in order to troubleshoot any issues.

Below are some of the aspects that will help with the event orientation and preparations:

Sensitivities

This refers to any/all geopolitical, emotional, physical, organizational aspects to be taken into considerations. Among these are existing lines and rivalries that may be present (or developing) among the participants and their organizations, the diversity of gender, organizational roles and societal class that may play into the design of the agenda (see Agenda planning), and a host of cultural and regional sensitivities that may affect how the event is perceived, received and carried out.

Context Preparations

Often, an event (such as a training) is geared towards participants in a specific context. Orientation and preparation steps for trainers will definitely be helped by paying close attention to the context analysis, severity of the situation the participants are facing, including stress and trauma levels at participant and community levels. Being prepared includes not only awareness of the starting contextual state of the participants, but the ability and readiness of the trainers to adapt and adjust the event based on contextual issues that may arise during the event.

It is also important to remember that when it comes to context, the participants will likely be the source, and not the recipient of knowledge, and trainers’ ability to receive and capture contextual information during an event will produce not only acceptance on behalf of the participants, but also will become very useful as an addition to the body-of-knowledge for future similar events.

Country Preparations

Orienting oneself around the location of the event, including the city, the region, and the country is also of great importance, and can be divided into both the logistical/organizational preparations, as well as programmatic/content parts.

Toolkits

Experienced trainers travel with two toolkits: their skills and a training supplies kit. You may also find the following useful when preparing for a training, from the You, the Trainer section of this site: - How to Handle Surprises During Training - “Golden Rules” of Effective Training - Be a Better Trainer - Roles and Responsibilities of a Digital Security Trainer

From an organizational perspective…

It is important for the logistics and venue team to inform themselves, as well as the rest of the delivery team (i.e. trainers) about any specific nuances, such as border crossing, transportation, local customs regarding foreigners, food restrictions, and others.

From a programmatic standpoint…

Being prepared in what pedagogic approaches are more prevalent in a specific region, or how the participants may affected by the country or region in which the event is being held are examples of how regional and location implications should be taken into consideration.