Aug. 25, 2017

Simple meetings set up styles and tips

Theater Style: Seats or chairs in rows facing a stage area, head table, or speaker (with no conference table)

  • Used for: This is the most efficient set-up when the attendees will act as an audience. This set-up is not recommended for food events or if note taking is required.
  • Set-up hints: This is a very flexible room set-up. Rows can be circular, semi-circular, straight, or angled toward the focal point. Offset each row so that attendees don’t have to look over the person in front of them (this will increase the space required). If using banquet type chairs, space them 3” to 6” apart as these chairs are normally narrower than most people’s bodies. If you have the space, allow for 24” between rows to allow attendees easy movement in and out of the row.
  • Pros: Good for large groups when reading/writing are not required
  • Cons: Elevation changes needed for large groups. No writing surface. Minimal group interaction

U-Shape Style: A series of conference tables set in the shape of the letter U, with chairs around the outside.

  • Used for: This layout style is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups where there is a speaker, audio-visual presentation or other focal point.
  • Set-up hints : A minimum of 2’ of table space is required per attendee. Skirt the inside of the “U” if attendees are being seated only on the outside. Avoid the “U” set-up for groups greater than 25, as the sides of the “U” become too long and may not promote participation from all attendees.
  • Pros: Good work space. Good interaction between participants . Ideal when audio-visual or speakers are involved
  • Cons: Not ideal for larger group

Classroom Style: Rows of conference tables with chairs facing the front of a room (and usually a speaker), providing writing space for each person.

  • Used for: This room set-up is ideal for note taking, meetings requiring multiple handouts or reference materials, or other tools such as laptop computers. This is the most comfortable set-up for long sessions and allows refreshments to be placed within reach of each attendee.
  • Set-up hints: Tables that extend beyond the stage or podium should be angled toward the speaker. Allow for approximately 2’ of space per person at each table. (More space may be required depending on the amount of materials). Minimum space between tables is 3’. Provide 3½’ if space allows, for ease of movement in and out of rows.
  • Pros: Presenter can see all participants.Accommodates large groups in less space
  • Cons: Minimal interaction possible. Participants only see each other’s backs

Boardroom Style: A rectangular or oval table set up with chairs around all sides and ends.

  • Used for: This table layout is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups.
  • Set-up hints: Many facilities offer rooms with permanent conference tables in a variety of shapes. If these are not available, standard conference tables can be placed together to form a square, rectangle or hollow square. Remember, the larger the set-up, the harder it is for attendees to see others at the end opposite them.
  • Pros: Good work space. Good working atmosphere. Good interaction between participants
  • Cons: Not ideal for audio-visual presentations . Not ideal for speakers. Not ideal for larger groups

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