Event Set-Ups

Conference-style for 16 shown here.

Conference-style for 16 shown here.

This month’s question: “Event Coordinators, there are so many set-up types that are offered–horseshoe, rounds, theater.  How do I know which one is the best for me and my event?  What are the pros and cons of each?”

Rachel: That’s a great question!  Having the appropriate set-up for your program is crucial to the success of your event as it truly sets the tone and comfort level for your guests.  A horseshoe set up works great when there will be discussions as well as projected presentation.  In this set-up, all of the guests can see each other and no one has their back to the front of the room.

Rounds are a great choice when there will be meals served, as well as when there will be small group discussions or brainstorming sessions as the guests will already be broken up into groups/teams.  The important thing to keep in mind here is that half of the guests will have their back to the front of the room.  This can be uncomfortable for the guests if part of the session will have a presentation.  Stiff necks are no fun!

Theater-style seating is a great option for speakers or performance events.  This is the best choice if you are trying to maximize seating and attendance for an event.  The thing to remember for this type of set-up is that the guests will not have any type of table in front of them so it can be awkward if you are planning on serving food and beverages or anticipate the guests may want to take notes.

Sheila: One set-up we see quite often is the classroom set-up.  This set-up includes a rectangular table with chairs on one side only, facing the front of the room. The tables can vary in length (5′, 6′, 8′), and a true classroom set-up has “skinny” tables (typically 18″ deep) since there is only seating on one side. This set-up is perfect for presentations, lectures, etc. and also helps to maximize seating while still providing a table. Three chairs per 6′ table is standard, however if space allows try using two chairs per table.  This could provide additional room and comfort for your guests.

When determining a set-up, it’s important to not only look at what will work best for your program, but also what set-up will be most conducive to the flow of the event. Are there areas in the room that you want to highlight, such as vendor or exhibit tables? If there is food being served in the room, is it buffet-style or served, just refreshments or a full meal? Your Conference & Event Coordinator can work with you on the best set-up for your event, given all these factors. Student Union & Event Services also has room diagramming software to assist in ensuring your set-up will fit comfortably in your reserved area, but also provide a too-scale visual in creating your event experience.

Rachel: These are just a few examples of set-up options; there are several more that may be a better choice based on the programmatic aspects of your event.  Of course, our job as an Conference & Event Coordinator is to help you with each step of the process so please do not hesitate to ask if you need assistance determining the best set up for your event.  We are happy to help!

Each month we’ll be answering your questions!  Ever wonder what microphone to use for a musical performance?  Don’t know how best to select a catering menu?  We’ll assist you with some of your event planning quandaries and get you on the road for a successful program.  Message, tweet (@UNLV_SUES), or comment here to send us your questions!


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