Let the venue know that you know how your room is to be set up. Many hotel and venue staff have no sense of what makes a good room layout.
Place the front row of chairs and or tables no more than 2 metres from the stage. Don’t let them put a dance floor between the stage and the audience. Don’t let them set the tables so that it’s easy for them to serve but deadly to giving you a great atmosphere.
If you’re using rows, get them to place the chairs far enough apart to allow elbow room. They are notorious for setting chairs hard up against each other.
In a workshop, seminar or breakout
In a group of less than 50 it’s good to have no aisle in the centre.
There are a few don’ts that most hotel schools don’t teach their graduates.
Don’t use U shapes. You kill your atmosphere because people play power eye-games across the open space.
Don’t use rows of tables like a classroom. You kill your atmosphere because the people are not close.
Don’t serve noisy crinkly papered sweets. The paper fiddlers drive others crazy – like pen clickers.
Don’t serve water with ice cubes. The ice makes distracting noise and usually spills out on the table.
Don’t serve food and coffee from tables pressed against a wall. Let guests access both sides. You get people served faster.
“From the perspective of a lecturer and viewing your ‘show’ again, I just wish to say thank you! I was with the students Monday night in their dining room at the halls of residence and they were STILL buzzing, thank you-ing and smiling and talking of their experience with you. The timing was perfect, your energy and ability to motivate was again brilliant.” – Dan Edmonds
Dan Edmonds, Head of School, International College of Hotel Management, Adelaide