What is the best room set-up for my meeting?
You have booked space, registered attendees, handled the food and beverage, and booked travel arrangements, so when it comes time to choose a meeting room layout, you may think that as long as attendees have tables and chairs, they should be fine! The event planning industry dates back thousands of years, with Cleopatra orchestrating many successful, elaborate, and lavish meetings for her love, Marc Antony. Even back then Cleopatra knew the importance of implementing effective meeting space design, for she understood that spaces that are uncomfortable or ill-equipped can detract from your meeting vision and a well-designed event space can truly bring your vision to life.
With almost an endless option of meeting room layouts, a great way to start choosing one that would benefit your stakeholders is to determine the goals of your meeting or event. Will your attendees be networking, listening to a speaker, or discussing strategy with their fellow associates? Setting these initial goals will immediately narrow down the options. Another question that must be considered is, how many attendees will be present at your meeting or event? Certain conference or meeting room layouts are better suited for different-sized groups, and you want to ensure that every attendee can see and hear each other as well as the presenter, if there is one. Based on the answers to these questions, the following room set-ups could bring your event to the next level:
Partially Interactive Set-ups encourage group discussions and interactivity while coinciding with the speaker’s presentations or even just visuals.
- Crescent Rounds
- Team Style or Pod
These popular set-ups work well for presentations, demonstrations, and video conferencing where the focus is at one end of the room, while also encouraging some group discussion.
Highly Interactive Set-ups are designed for attendees who will be actively involved in discussion. There may be a facilitator to assist with face-to-face communication and group dynamics, and there are usually less AV presentations involved.
- Boardroom or Conference
- Hollow Square
These setups are a good choice for easy and efficient group communication. It also gives a moderator or facilitator the option of working from the center of the space or the head of the table.
Presenter-Focused Set-ups prioritize the speaker and their message. They also prioritize maximum capacity over interactivity, as the focus is to spread their message to the masses.
- Auditorium or Theater
Are you having an “all-hands” meeting or a town hall? These designs will help get as many people as possible into one space. All attendees face the front of the room, so this conference or meeting room layout idea is also perfect for lectures or presentations. These set-ups are not ideal for group work.
Banquet and Reception Room Set-ups Banquet-style seating is ideal for occasions that involve meals or small group discussions involving a maximum of 8 or 10 people.
- Banquet Seating or Rounds
Other imperative questions to consider regarding meeting room layout or space design are: Will there be a facilitator or moderator? What sort of audio visual and power is needed? What are the maximum room capacities of the venue? The answers to these questions will also help you create the vision of a successful meeting or event.