Practical Tips & Advice

Choosing a room layout for your event

Published: 17 Aug 2010

One of the most important factors for your meeting or event to run successfully is the comfort of your delegates and part of that is making sure the room is laid out in the right style.

Everyone needs enough space, tables if they are writing notes, to be able to see the speakers clearly and the screen if there is a presentation. If the room is set up correctly, it is more likely that the objectives of the session will be met and the learning experience of the attendees will be improved.

Theatre style

Appropriate for large groups and short lectures that do not require extensive note taking. This is a convenient set-up to use before breaking into discussion or for role-playing groups because chairs can be moved.


Will water be available for delegates during the meeting? How and where will refreshments be served?

Classroom style

The most desirable set-up for medium to large size meetings. It requires a relatively large room. Tables provide attendees with space for spreading out materials and


How large is the group and what are they doing? A two day training course for 20 people will have different needs to a 2 hour presentation for 150 people.

Boardroom style

Appropriate for interactive discussions and note-taking sessions for fewer than 25 people. Many hotels have elegant boardrooms with fixed boardroom tables and ergonomic chairs. This style can also be used for private dining. The illustration shows a closed boardroom style. If a presentation is needed, then one of the end places


Think carefully about how many people will be attending and whether a microphone will be needed by the speakers.

U-shaped style

Appropriate for groups with fewer than 40 people. Maximum interaction is ensured with the leader seated at the head of the set-up. Audio-visual equipment is usually


How much interaction is there between the delegates and the speakers? Will there be discussions between the delegates themselves? Do the attendees need to split into smaller groups? Will people be moving around and does the room suit this?

Dinner style

Generally used for meals and sessions involving small group discussions. A five-foot round table seats eight people comfortably. A six-foot round table seats 10-12


If you are organising a dinner, think about staging, whether there is a top table, microhones, speakers and presentations. If back projection is needed then it will reduce the usable space for attendees. 10 or 11 people around the table is ideal, when 12 are seated it can be quite squashed.

Cabaret style

Useful if you need smaller groups around one table but audio-visual equipment is being used at the front of the room. This set-up allows all delegates to see without


Is there a presentation? What audio/visual equipment is required and can everyone see the screen clearly? How much space will this take up in the room? A six-foot round table seats 6 or 7 people.


Content provided by the Event Organisers' Guide by Trinity Conferences Ltd

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