31 May 2017
Top Tips - Which Setup Do You Really Want?
When entering a room, the greatest impact is not the stage or other focal point, but the arrangement of your seats. It’s likely to fill up to 90% of the space yet is often chosen for all the wrong reasons.
If you’re planning an event, here’s our most popular setups and why you should really be choosing them….
Perceived as a simple setup, rows of chairs face your stage or presentation area. Its benefits are that it brings great focus to your speakers with the audience closer to the action than in any other setup. It is the most conducive setup for communicating a message. The speaker and any accompanying visuals are the main focus with minimal other distractions like tables or chairs at awkward angles. If your primary objective is to communicate a message to your audience via spoken word or multi-media, this is the setup for you.
Cabaret setups look beautiful with large round tables, floor length cloths and chairs usually seated around 80% of each table with a gap pointing towards your speaker. They are frequently chosen simply because they look so good! Many venues will want to tell you they are the best setup for a conference because they take up a lot of room, which means selling you a bigger and more expensive room. Don’t be seduced by the romantic ideal of the cabaret setup. When it comes to conferencing they are good for one thing, and one thing only – group discussion. If the objective of your event is to workshop together, this is the choice for you. Your main speaker or facilitator can share from the front and then in groups around tables you are ready to discuss and work it out together. If you’re not planning on doing this though, as beautiful as it is, think whether a Theatre style would be more appropriate. If you are set on having a hard surface to make notes on, consider the following…
The classroom style is a throwback to your school and university days. Groups of desks in rows, facing a stage where the focus is on learning. Think less inspiration (go for theatre style), more instruction. The small desks are perfect for laptops, I-pads or good old pen and paper to rest on and the desks smaller form than the big round tables in a cabaret set keep the audience as close to the action as possible. They are terrible for group work, as the desks are clumsy to move around but perfect for a learning environment.
Of course there are plenty of variations on these themes, ask your venue for tips on how effective different setups are in the rooms you are looking at. Want to ask us for advice? Feel free to comment or email, we would love to hear from you!
Author: Jonathan Cooper