A successful conference event requires attention to every detail – including (and crucially) seating layout. A conference seating layout plan is one of the most important pre-conference preparations – one which is usually made with input from top conference venues, according to the seating capacity available in their various rooms and at various times.

Factors considered when planning conference seating and layout, include:

  • The number of attendees vs. seating capacity
  • Relationships between the attendees
  • The levels and type of engagement required during the conference
  • Whether attendees need to take notes
  • Whether food or drinks will be served in the conference room
  • The purpose and nature of the conference – i.e. is it formal or informal? Is it team-building? Product Launch? Etc.
  • Presentations, speakers and use of audio-visual screens and/or white boards

A small number of attendees who need to engage with each other and/or watch a presentation would benefit from seating around a boardroom table, whereas a large number in attendance for the same purpose would be better accommodated in a U-shape with tables and chairs in a classroom. A large number of attendees for a presentation only, would be better accommodated by theatre seating in an auditorium, or theatre seating with tables in a classroom if food and drink will be served.

Other seating you can consider include the ‘horseshoe’ which allows for engagement between participants and a speaker – perfect for large meetings and team-briefings; ‘banquet’ style for informal and celebratory events that include full catering during the event, and ‘cabaret’ style for a blend between informal and formal that includes meals and formal presentations.

Planning your conference seating layout can be complicated but made easier if you sketch the plan on paper. There are numerous tools on the internet and of course you can use good old Microsoft power point. This allows you to make changes as they are thrown at you and update your seating plan in an instant.

An extended conference may require use of different seating arrangements. In such a case, it’s worth using an event planner or an in-house event planning service, offered by top conference venues with the seating capacity you need. HB Connect can assist you with your planning from A to Z. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance planing your conference or event.