Studio Theater Style
Theatre-style seating consists of several rows of chairs facing the front of the room. This arrangement works best for formal presentations, where participants are focused on the presenter. This style is one of the best for large groups as the absence of tables uses less overall floor space.
However, because there are no tables, this arrangement isn’t conducive to taking notes or working on a laptop. Because participants can’t easily take notes in a theater-style arrangement, you should make the presentation available to attendees in written or electronic format.
A classroom-style setup uses long, narrow tables placed in front of rows of chairs – all facing the speaker. This setup is ideal for formal presentations where the audience is expected to take notes. Using the tables, participants can write notes, work on their laptops or use PDAs. The presenter can use either a screen or an interactive whiteboard with his or her computer.
Surge protectors and extension cords should be strategically placed so that they are available to everyone, but not in the way.
A banquet-style setup consists of several tables placed throughout the room. This setup is perfect for small breakout sessions or collaborative workgroups. This style is challenging for very large groups or seminars where speakers or presenters are at the front of the room. Smaller groups and meetings where the speaker or presenter are moving about usually work best with this layout.
A U-shaped arrangement is ideal if participants need to see the front of the room but also work collaboratively. Meeting or seminar participants can comfortably watch presentations in front of the room, while still maintaining contact with the people around them.