Friday, August 16, 2013

Choose the Correct Room Setup for Your Event

Here’s a tip for first-time event planners, coordinators, and facilitators: seating layouts can affect the impact and success of your sessions.  So make sure you use the appropriate physical arrangements for your meeting. ( suggests the following seating arrangements for big groups (41 or more):

Theater Style

  • Used for very large audiences where the speaker is the main focus
  • Participants sit side by side in long rows
  • Does not encourage note-taking since tables are not provided

Classroom Style

Dietz Meeting Room - classroom style
Photo from:

  • Same as theater style but with tables
  • Appropriate for long lectures
  • Encourages note-taking

Chevron or Herringbone Style
  • Chairs are arranged at an angle
  • Encourages interaction among participants
  • Facilitates viewing of visual presentations
  • Most dynamic of all the seating arrangements ( and Carnegie Mellon University  ( suggest the following for small groups (40 and below):

Hollow square or rectangle
  • For meetings where hierarchy is not an issue
  • Excellent for facilitator-led meetings
  • Encourages audience participation
  • Awkward to use when showing visuals.


  • Very good for groups between 6 and 15.
  • Suggests formality and hierarchy.
  • For groups over 15, people at the far end table may feel left out and form a separate group.


  • Seats can be on either outside or inside of tables.
  • Instructor can survey students' work.
  • Facilitates easy exchange between presenter and audience.
  • Center may be used for exhibits or demos.


  • Encourages collaboration. 
  • Center area may be used for simulations and role plays.
  • Can be used with or without speaker table.

Semi-circle or circle

  • Can be set up with or without tables.
  • Presenter's role is minimal.
  • Excellent for sharing  or reflection sessions
  • Encourages a sense of group and bonding.


  • Good for presentations with breakout groups.
  • Clusters easily return to being a single group. 
  • Tables can be either round or small rectangles.

Staff at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center will be glad to arrange the chairs and  tables in your function room according to your need. Simply provide them with the number of expected attendees and the seating arrangement you need.