I have been put in charge of running some training seminars for co-workers from other departments. These training courses will be 2 hours long for 10-30 people and will be put on by either myself or one of my co-workers from my department.

Speaking with the organizer of the meetings it has been made clear that my performance is being judged on the "successfulness" of the courses that I put on. One metric for this is a peer review and Attendance numbers. It has also been made clear that "no funds are available".

From my experience going to any third party training courses, Water/coffee is always made available to attendees.

Is it being unfair/unethical to the other trainers if I supply cold water/coffee out of my own pocket, to try and boost my own attendance numbers?

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    I would concentrate my efforts on having interesting topics that are useful to the target audience and then presenting them both professionally and well.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 28, 2015 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


Your peer review will most likely take no account of the free food you provide.

I have no idea how and if the availability of free food will balance with a poor presentation and a poor presenter. And since the free food in question is just water and coffee and they can get water from the water cooler and coffee from the kitchen, I believe that the impact of the free food you offer is not going to be more than marginal.

I used to cheat at cards. Not ethical at all, but the other players let me cheat to my heart's content because I was such a lousy cheater that I would have been better off not cheating :)

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    Well, you don't know if water and/or coffee will be available other than from the OP. Maybe there is no kitchen where the seminars are held, etc.
    – Jay
    Jul 28, 2015 at 21:01
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    I know that if there were a bunch of seminars available and only one had coffee that would be a strong motivator for me. It is embarassing getting bored to sleep.
    – Myles
    Jul 28, 2015 at 21:07

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