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Friday, February 08, 2013

Meeting and Conference Room Setup Guide

A conference room setup is a classic layout popularly used for smaller meetings and an ideal arrangement for debate and discussion. Conference style layouts consist of one table in the center of the room where attendees are seated around all sides, encouraging and allowing an easy dialogue between delegates. Commonly used for board meetings, discussion groups and other smaller functions at which interaction between participants is expected.

For small businesses the conference room usually has multiple uses. This room could be used for brainstorming sessions where team members can get together, or it could have a social function as well, hosting a birthday party or celebratory event. A conference room layout provides plenty of workspace for each person at the table and a good communication / visual line for each participant.

Listed below are the advantages and disadvantages of a conference room seating layout with suggested placement of any needed PA Systems and wireless microphoned presenters.

Advantages: Participants can hear and see each other easily. Unity is created by sharing the table and encourages conversation. Can be used to identify work groups; one group of workers can be seated across the table from another group to present and discuss different ideas.

Disadvantages: People must be rearranged when using AV equipment. Extremely long tables can give a feeling of isolation and discourage participation. Cannot see the faces of all the people. Can highlight tensions between separate groups.

Group Involvement: High. Encourages the involvement of people in the group. Creates a more formal setting.

Seating: Arranged along sides of tables. Seats at the end of the tables can designate leadership positions.

Portable PA System
Wireless Microphone

Variations of a Conference Layout

Square Table: Another formal arrangement, tables are configured in a square. Allows for more groups to be identified and involved in the meeting.
Hollow Square: Facilitates group discussions and brainstorming, but can also accommodate the agendas of multiple speakers.