How Seating Plans Effect Audience Interaction

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Picture of Sarah Corcoran

Sarah Corcoran

When you’re planning an in-person event how do you approach the seating plan? It’s a task that has a bigger effect on your conference or event than you realise. Seating arrangements can impact how the speakers communicate with attendees and how attendees interact with each other. This can have a knock-on effect on engagement, motivation and focus, three key elements for a successful event. 

Holding your event at DCU event space in Glasnevin gives you the freedom to customise the space, choosing a seating plan that best suits you. Here’s our guide to choosing a seating arrangement that suits the style and content of your event in our Dublin venue.

Your Event

Just like a classroom, the layout of the room and the seating plan should match the topic and style of your event. Figure out what type of event you’re hosting which will in turn help you determine the seating plan that best suits. Factors contributing to the most effective seating plan change depending on the meeting type – is it educational or inspirational, does it require group work or audience interaction? It’s important to have a configuration that can be flexible to accommodate event variety.

Event Size & Shape

Are you hosting a large-scale, lecture-style event or a small intimate workshop that involves plenty of breakouts? Before you start to move tables or decide on the final style of the room, make sure your preferred seating arrangement can fit into the event space you’ve chosen. Event organisers and venues can help with this, giving you a definite maximum number of attendees and desk arrangements that will work. Consider things like mobility and flexibility when choosing your space giving you and your guests the best chance to enjoy your fantastic event. DCU offers a flexible, accessible event venue in Dublin for all shapes and sizes of meetings and conferences. Speak to one of our team to learn more about our Dublin conference venue.

Meeting Room Styles: 

Theatre Style

Theatre-style seating is the most popular and straightforward arrangement used in events and allows for maximum attendance. It’s the same sating style found in cinemas or traditional theatres with chairs in straight rows facing the stage or speaker. Some venues can tier their seating allowing even more seats in a smaller space with better visuals for all attendees. The drawback of this type of seating is the limited mobility for attendees in the centre of rows and the lack of desks for note-taking. Popular for meetings, Annual General Meetings, product launches and lectures.

Classroom Style 

As the name suggests, this seating style reflects the seating found in a school or college lecture hall. Chairs and trestle tables alight in a consecutive straight line, facing the stage or speaker. In some purpose-built conference venues, the chairs are not moveable and have built-in desk spaces. It allows for note taking, consumption of food & beverage and less distraction from attendees from facing another person. Negatives are the closed-in space for attendees and the limited attendance with the addition of tables. Popular for training, conferences, sales kick-offs and product launches.

U Shaped Style

As the name suggests, a U-shaped meeting room arrangement involves the desks and chairs arranged in a U shape with an open space in the middle. The open end allows for a focal point or presentation area and the space allows the speaker to approach and engage with audience members. Drawbacks are an inefficient use of space and having attendees face each other instead of the speaker. It’s a popular choice for training, conferences, workshops and lectures

Banquet Style

Banquet seating style is similar to a round dinner table with the audience seated around the circumference of the table facing inwards. Attendees face each other, perfect for audience interaction or breakaway teamwork. The downside to this is half of the room has their back to the speaker leading to neck strain and possible low engagement and concentration. It’s ideal for meetings which turn into dinner dances, gala dinners, or award ceremonies.

You’ll find the perfect meeting or event venue in Dublin on DCU Campus. Our location, experience and attention to detail makes us a stand-out choice for all event types. We can cater to all meeting shapes and sizes and can customise the space to best suit you. Contact our events planning team in DCU to learn more about our Dublin event space.