Friday, September 26, 2008

Room Sets for Meetings

Most people who plan meetings and conferences know that how you arrange the chairs makes a big difference in how people interact and learn. I got a chance to see this firsthand on Wednesday.

We had a regional meeting in New York City. We have run this type of meeting in 20 cities over the past few years, so we have it down to a science. However, this time we used a facility of a client of a member. The price was right, but there wasn't enough space to put in the 5 rounds of 8-10 that we wanted. Instead, we had to do theater style seating. When it came time for the discussion portion of the program, people just got up and started moving around, networking, etc. The discussion really didn't happen. And it was truly all because of the room set.

We readjusted and the meeting still was top notch. Attendees raved about it. But an important lesson was learned/reiterated. If I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I may have changed venues so I could have the room set I wanted. It would have been worth the few extra dollars.

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