Organising a business conference can be a complex business. Not only do you need to find the perfect venue for your business requirements, the room layout itself can make all the difference to the success of the event.
We’ve put together a brief guide to the most popular styles of seating for your conference delegates, including their main pros and cons. Depending on the nature of the event, the number of attendees and your budget, choosing the most appropriate meeting room layout is critical.
This is the simplest of all conference room layouts. Chairs are placed in long straight rows, facing a speaker. The speaker can be elevated on a podium or stage, sitting at a head table or just standing up facing the audience. It’s the perfect seating style for an audience of delegates, all of whom will have a clear view of the front. A theatre layout is good for formal announcements, product launches, displays and presentations. Academic venues are a natural place to look for in search of theatre style conference space.
• All seats face towards the speaker
• Maximum room capacity
• Little group interaction
• Difficult to take notes
Simulating traditional school seating, this layout consists of delegates seated at grouped tables (of three), facing forward towards the speaker. It’s an ideal seating arrangement for exams, training, seminars and lectures.
• Good choice for taking notes
• Not much elbow room between attendees
• Tables reduce room occupancy
• Sitting side by side and behind each other does not promote interaction
A similar seating style (Herringbone) has the tabled angled towards the centre, encouraging more interaction since attendees can see each other as well as the presenter.
Delegates are seated at round tables (4-6 people cabaret style, 6-10 people banquet style), with an open end towards the stage and a clear view of the presentation/speaker. It’s an informal seating arrangement where most attendees face the front of the room. Mainly used for social/gala events including product launches and corporate presentations, this layout is also useful for training and workshops.
• Excellent for interaction around the table
• Easy to take notes
• Layout takes up a lot of space
• Table and linen hire may cost more
Popular for smaller group meetings, interviews and discussions, a boardroom set-up involves a single, large table (typically rectangular or oval) with seating all around. It’s a great solution for interactive sessions – delegates can all see each other and spend most of the time talking or listening to each other.
• Good interaction as all delegates face each other
• Plenty of workspace
• Not suitable for larger groups
• Not suitable for presentations using AV equipment
With tables set out in the shape of a horseshoe, or the letter U, with chairs positioned around the outside. The open end is at the presentation area and all delegates face inwards. Good for smaller meetings, this layout is often used for board meetings, committee meetings, training seminars or discussion groups where a speaker is present, or AV presentation facilities are needed.
• Good interaction between delegates facing each other
• Good interaction between delegates and speaker/presenter
• Not ideal for larger groups
At Function Fixers, we have a team of specialist venue finders to help you find the best venue for your business event. As seasoned event industry experts, we can offer invaluable free and impartial advice on any aspect of event planning. Why not contact us on 020 7186 8686 to discuss your requirements with one of our friendly team?