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VENUE SETUP

Layout a room with our helpful reference guide to the different kinds of meeting room layouts and the styles in which the conference tables can be arranged.
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a) Theatre 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
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b) U-Shape
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
c) Classroom Style
Rows of conference tables with chairs facing the front of a room (and usually a speaker), providing writing space for each person.
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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
d) 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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