When considering how to best use the space for your business event, there are a number of event layout styles, each with their own benefits.
Dependant on the style and nature of your event, your chosen venue will set up the room in the style that works best to maximise space and practicality.
So we spoke to the team at Jurys Inns to put together an outline of a few of the most popular events layout styles to help you decide which works best for your business conference or event.
Great for: Lectures, presentations and seminars
A great option for presentations, conferences or events that require delegates to see the speaker, or a screen, theatre style is similar to that in, you’ve guessed it… a theatre. Seats are lined in rows, all facing the speaker, with aisles created for easy access in and out. Rows can be set in straight lines, a herringbone or semi-circular shape, dependant on preference and numbers attending.
Great for: Training sessions, lectures and exams
A classroom layout involves seats in rows facing the speaker, with tables in front. This allows delegates to make notes, complete surveys or use laptops and tablet devices with ease.
Great for: Brainstorming sessions and board meetings
Boardroom style is a classic layout, where delegates are seated around a long conference table. The speaker or host may stand at one end, with attendees sat around the other three sides. This layout works best for smaller business meetings or team briefings for up to 20, dependant on the room size.
Great for: Interactive meetings, practical sessions, Q&A style events
Rectangular tables are positioned in a U shape, with attendees sat around the outside, facing into the middle. The speaker or presenter will stand in the middle, to be clearly seen by all delegates. This layout is great for meetings that use video screens, which can be positioned in the centre for all to see, or for events that require use of materials and space to work on the table.
Crescent or Half Round Style
Great for: Dinners, auctions, charity events and awards ceremonies
A popular choice for larger scale events, round tables are laid around the room and chairs are strategically placed so that guests are all facing in the same direction (usually towards a speaker or a stage). By seating guests in a certain way, they are able to enjoy their meal whilst viewing whatever is happening on the stage. This style seating is best for events that include a sit-down meal , such as charity luncheons, business awards and celebrations involving live entertainment.
Great for: Weddings, gala dinners and business celebrations.
Banquet style is a popular choice for formal events, where the majority of the focus is on dining. Guests are seated around round tables, usually 8-10 per table.
Great for: Social dining, corporate dinners and teambuilding events
An imperial layout is a great option for dining events. Rectangular tables are placed end to end to create one long table with guests seated down either side. This is a great way to seat a large number of people in a slick, easily accessible way. It also encourages more social interaction across the table.
Reception or Cocktail Style
Great for: Networking events, mixers and welcome receptions
This type of layout is used for networking or mingling events where guests are encouraged to interact. The less chairs the better, as guests that are sat down do far less networking! You may include a few standing ‘poser’ tables for guests to place drinks whilst chatting, or a few bar stools for those that tire of standing.
A few layout tips…
Ask your venue about the size of the tables they will be using. This will not only determine the number of delegates per table, but whether or not the room can accommodate your total guest count.
Consider accessibility to seats. Avoid excessively long table set-ups and consider using table breaks to give attendees easier access to their seats as they get up and down to network or walk around.
If you have the extra space at your event, consider a lounge area with comfy sofas to create a more relaxed atmosphere. This makes for a great space for guests to mingle throughout the event.
If you have the space, opt for seating less people per table to avoid squashing your delegates in, especially when dining. Nobody wants to feel someone’s elbow digging into their side as they try to enjoy dinner.
Consider the view of each and every one of your delegates when choosing your seating layout. If there are visuals to see, ensure everyone attending will have a clear view.