Just as different locations suit different types of meetings, so does the type of room a meeting is hosted in, and how that room is set up. The U.S.-based Fine Speakers Bureau offers these distinctions between different room set-ups, and what types of meetings they best apply to:
– Classroom style: Rows of tables with two or three chairs at each one, with tables arranged to face the front of the room. Appropriate when the conference is an informational-type presentation. The presenters are providing the information, with some dialogue with the audience.
– Theatre style: Rows of chairs facing the front of the room, usually divided by centre and/or side aisles. Maximizes meeting-room space utilization. This type of setup works well when the audience needs to take minimal notes and/or the presentation is two hours or less in length.
– Conference style: Long, rectangular conference tables clustered in the centre of the room to form one solid surface. Chairs are placed around the outside. Ideal for small brainstorming sessions or leaderless meetings. The setup not only provides plenty of workspace for each person, but also encourages good communication/visual lines for each participant.
– U-Shape: Long, rectangular conference tables placed end to end in the room to form a U-shape. Chairs are placed around the outside. Best suited for small groups that require conversations between the presenter and audience, as well as conversations between the participants.
– Hollow Square: Long, rectangular conference tables placed in a rectangular outline with open space in the middle. Chairs are placed around the outside. Similar to the conference-style setup, this is ideal for small brainstorming sessions and leaderless meetings
– Banquet style: Used for food functions. Features round tables that seat eight to 12 people.
– Half-Moon Rounds: Seating around half of the table so all are facing towards the front with nobody’s backs to the presenter.
– Chevron or “V” Shape: Allows discussion among small groups of participants during, or immediately after, a larger group activity. Creates a more enclosed feel for the presenter and audience.
– Herringbone: Appropriate when the meeting is an informational-type presentation. The presenter is providing the information, with some dialogue with the audience. Creates a more enclosed feel for the presenter and audience.
Courtesy Fine Speakers Bureau