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8 Meeting Room Setup Styles and How To Choose the Best

GoldetTulip5-849x464After successful research and consultations, you have finally found the  perfect venue for your meeting. Now, its time to decide the meeting room setup style that will be convenient to your type of event. Here is how to decide. First of all, the layout and the table setup of a meeting room are as important as the venue itself.

Understanding the various facets of the conference itself are the key starting points to coming up with the best meeting set up styles. These aspects include confirming the number of attendants, understanding your customers’ specifications and an evaluation of the resources that you have at hand.

To planners:  It gets really interesting when a customer doesn’t have a clue about any set up style but wants a nice set up that makes maximum utilization of space while allowing free movements. As a planner you have to juggle your skills and experience and come up with the best possible suggestions for them.

To customers:  It is always good to have a rough idea of what you want to achieve before you approach an organizer because in the case where they fail to meet your expectations, it is not any less of their fault than it is yours. Below are some of the quickest and easy set up styles that do not need much experience, even an amateur could do it and still achieve fantastic results.

1.Theater/Auditorium style

Auditorium kilimo gardens
Kilimo Grand Resort

This is basically a row of chairs facing the front of the room, usually divided by the center and/or side aisles to allow access by the delegates with ease. Mostly the rows and columns are supposed to be equal. If your meeting doesn’t need much of note-taking or when you want to achieve maximum seated capacity, then this set up style would be a great idea.

Typically best suited for meetings of around 2 hours. It is most appropriate for mass meetings, annual general meetings and product launches like this one for Apple.

2. Classroom style

meeting room setup
Travellers Beach Mombasa

Some prefer calling it “the school style” It is pretty much what it sounds like. Chairs and tables arranged in rows facing in front to support writing, using computers or taking meals.This kind of a set up can be used when you want your guests to eat plated food, use their computers or take notes during the meeting. It is most appropriate for training and lectures. However, avoid squeezing too many people to fit in a table since they won’t be able to utilize the space comfortably and thus dissatisfaction.

SEE ALSO: Tips to finding the perfect venue

3.U-shaped style

Emeli hotel

Placing the conference tables  end to end with one opening and therefore forming a U shape is another type of set up style that is common. You can also use a round table and place the seats around leaving one opening at one end for presentation purposes. Normally the purpose of the opening is to allow presentations that are visual so that everyone can see. This style is foolproof when there is  a need to combine both presentation and some group interactions or discussions. Appropriate for small annual general meetings, conferences and workshops.

4.Boardroom style

BoardroommainpageUnlike the U style, this style includes seats on all sides of the table/s. A rectangular or an oval table is appropriate for this kind of a setup. However when the group is bigger, you can opt to join tables to form a hollow square inform of a boardroom. When you want to achieve a face to face interaction for your audience or when they have made that request, then it is justified to use this style. However be careful with the numbers because they determine if you will use a hollow square, a rectangular boardroom set up or just one table which in turn affects the communication aspects.  This style is most appropriate for board of directors meetings, committee meetings, team briefings and interviews.

5. Banqueting style

FTN banquet
Fairmont the Norfolk

This is where round tables are used and arranged in calculated groupings to allow easy movement as well as service of food while people are seated. Some tables are actually designed as banquet tables. Due to their nature of enhanced comfortability and ease of interaction this set up style is normally appropriate for gala dinners, wedding receptions and award nights.

6. Cocktail style

Hotel Emerald, Westlands

If you have ever been to a cocktail party, you might have noticed that it is a highly social event that requires lots of movements, interactions and networking at times. This is the reason we have tables specifically designed for that purpose. The tables are carefully scattered across the room or an outdoor arena and they normally provide support and placing of the cocktail drinks and snacks.

7.Cabaret style

Well this one might sound too foreign but think of it as halfway the banquet style. Whereas in the banquet style we have seats all-round the table, this one the seats are arranged with space being left in front to allow the guests to have a magnificent view to the front. Appropriate for award nights and casual celebrations.

8. V-shaped style

maanzoni herringbone
Maanzoni Lodge, Machakos.

Close to the classroom style but in this type of set up, the tables and the chairs are tilted with an upwards and inward angle so that even the person on the farthest end of each row can be able to see the speaker or observe what is happening without much struggle. This enhances concentration during the meetings as well as other benefits mentioned above in the classroom set up style. Also appropriate for group training and lectures.

Do you know of any other meeting style that we might have left out? Drop a comment in the comment section below. Let’s extend the discussion to social media. Like our facebook fan page and follow us on Linked in.

5 Replies to “8 Meeting Room Setup Styles and How To Choose the Best”

June 30, 2016
Your article was excellect and erudite.
Bernard Clyde
March 20, 2017
These are some great examples of types of conference rooms and why you would want to pick each one. I think it's important to think about which room will specifically satisfy the needs of your meeting, especially if you are meeting at hotel during a business trip. I also think you should consider how much technology you will need to have an effective meeting and to check if the hotel has accommodations for that.
June 13, 2017
thanks for this very clear and helpful
November 25, 2019
I love Banqueting style & Cocktail style

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