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Meeting and Conference Room Layouts Ideas Part II

Welcome to part two of our blog series on meeting and conference room layout ideas. In todays blog we will be discussing theatre style layouts and U shape layouts.

Theatre style layout

This layout involves rows of chairs facing the front of the room, with no tables. There is typically an aisle running from the back to the front of the room, allowing guests easier access to their seats. 

Think classic conference, the theatre style layout lends itself to keynote speakers, lecturers, guest speaker or conference hosts. The speaker tends to take centre stage and as a consequence command the attention of their guests or audience. This layout is typically used when there will be a large number of guests in attendance and the goal is for one way knowledge sharing with little opportunity for interaction.

Pros:

  • Great for sessions where all of the action is at the front of the room.
  • Allows for the maximum seated capacity to be achieved.

Cons:

  • One-to-many communication, which isn’t helpful for teamwork or conversation.
  • Little flexibility to move around the room, with guests largely confined to their seats.

U shape style layout

Tables & chairs are arranged in an open ended ‘U’ shape configuration, with the audience facing inwards.

This layout is ideal for a small group setting. This layout lends itself to discussion between guests. The leader or speaker tends to position themselves at the open end of the u-shape, allowing for a two-way conversation. The shape allows for a lot of interaction which in turn aids productivity and discussion. In addition, the shape can encourage guests to engage in conversations in comparison to the theatre style mentioned above.

Pros:

  • All guests are still able to easily view the front of the room.
  • Presenters can walk through the open space within the ‘U’ to engage with attendees.
  • Allows for open dialogue amongst attendees whilst they’re seated at the tables.

Cons:

  • Valuable conference room space is often lost in the centre of the ‘U’, impacting how many guests can be seated in the conference room.
  • Some audience members will be seated slightly side-on with the presentation.