Over all these years that I have been planning meetings and conferences I can honestly say I have learned a lot. I remember back in the dark ages, when I first started in this industry, I had no idea what I was doing. So much to learn and so much to know, it truly was overwhelming. Of course, some things came very fast while others were a bit tougher to grasp. And again back in the dark ages there wasn’t the helpful tools and technology that are so available now.
When planning meetings and conferences, there are so many factors and details that go into the plotting, designing, organizing and executing while keeping the ultimate goal of success front and center. Conference and meeting room setup can be a challenging undertaking. Good or bad, room setup can directly impact and influence the outcome of a meeting. We’ve all been on the receiving end of the complaints; attendees and participants that can’t see or hear what is actually going on at the front of the room or on stage. When it comes to meeting room set up the most basic objective is to ensure that all engaged do in fact have the same, positive experience.
Meeting Room Setup: Venues, Tables and Chairs, Oh MY!
The set up and arrangement of a meeting room can directly affect the value, efficiency and usefulness of the meeting space as well as the meeting itself. Prior to setting up the space it is imperative to figure out what will work in an operational and then most effective way. So before you even have that conversation with the venue ensure you are at “one with your needs and requirements”. And know what your meeting room essentials and setup necessities are. And then educate yourself, be sure to walk the space and become familiar and acquainted with the venue. And then most importantly distinguish all it’s positive and negative features to ensure the room lay out coordinates with all your AV, electrical and other needs.
Then it’s time to have that conversation with the venue. Let’s face it; the majority of venues are flexible and so easy to work with. By providing the venue with as much information as possible will help to achieve your ultimate goal. It is possible they may not be able to accommodate all your needs and wants but by providing all the information I personally have found they will do their best to find the way to make your vision happen.
Meeting Room Setup: All Kinds of Types and Styles.
Probably the most important tip I can convey in this blog is; do not use meeting space just because you have a need and the room is available. When it comes to meeting room setups there is a lot to think about and take into consideration. And really a room set up is dependent on the participants, presentation and meeting objectives. So always keep this front of mind.
Literally any type of meeting setup arrangement is possible and generally the most commonly used setups are;
Theater – Rows of chairs or seats facing the stage or front of the room (no tables).
Boardroom (or conference) – Oval or rectangle tables set up with chairs utilizing the table sides and ends.
U Shape – Tables set up in the shape of the letter U set with chairs around the outside of the U.
Classroom – Rows of tables with chairs facing the front of the room.
Chevron (or V shaped) – Tables set up in rows sloped in a V shape and divided by a center aisle.
Rounds – Round tables with chairs positioned to make the greatest use of the space.
Hollow Square – Eight or six foot tables set up in a rectangular style with a gap in the center.
Half Moon Rounds – Round tables setup with chairs around only half the table facing front.
While practically each and every meeting room setup shape is achievable and while you may think the time spent on selecting the just right setup is tedious and unexciting, it is a very important aspect of your meeting planning. So be sure to know your specs and meeting room space and how it can benefit your meeting.