Whether you've booked it as part of a conference, are intending on holding a training session or just want somewhere to talk to clients, your meeting room is important. You will need to make sure it is right for all your needs. However, many people do not consider everything when it comes to setting up their room.
The layout in particular is something that often gets overlooked. It might seem like a very minor detail, but the way your room is laid out can affect how well your session goes. If you want to encourage an open debate but the room is laid out so not everyone can face each other, it is going to negatively impact your session.
So, what should you consider when planning the layout of your meeting rooms? There are three main ways a room can be set out, so you should look through them and decide whether any are right for you.
This set up involves chairs sat around a large square or oval table, which should indicate immediately what the benefits are. If you are dealing with clients and want a more personal touch, or if you are expecting a discussion to be held at your next meeting, you will want to be able to easily see, face and interact with everyone else in the room.
A boardroom layout allows you to do this, as your back won't be to anyone. This facilitates discussion. If you want to hold a small lecture or train people, however, it is not the best option. Because not everyone is facing the same way, it is not easy for them to all be looking at you for an extended presentation.
If you are speaking to a large group of people, and aren't expecting a debate, a theatre-style setup is probably the best option for you. It involves all the chairs being set up in a row, facing one person at the front of the room. This is where you, the presenter, will be located.
This is the best option if you just want people looking at and listening to you. It is also the best for giving presentations or anything with a visual element, as everyone will be able to see what is going on at the front. You can also fit more people into a room this way, so it is better for larger groups.
If you want some combination of the two - perhaps a training session consisting of a presentation with a chance for discussion at the end - then you are best off going for a U-shaped room. Chairs are arranged in an elongated semicircle focusing on a central point, meaning you can give a presentation as usual.
However, everyone will also be capable of facing each other, which means they can easily discuss any points you make or work together in any practical elements of, for example, a training session. It is not the perfect solution, but it enables you to have the best of both worlds without too many weaknesses.