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#197: Seating Arrangements

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Where people sit in meetings is important. Can you provide some guidelines?

Although the seating arrangement for an event is often given minimal advanced thought, determining where participants will sit and how seating is arranged can significantly impact the overall success of your meeting.

First, it is important to determine exactly what you are trying to achieve at the meeting (are your lecturing on a topic or presenting information, or is it a meeting set- up for group brainstorming, problem-solving or critical decision-making?). Determining this purpose up front will help you to decide the optimum set-up of the room and seating.

It is also important to determine who will be attending (who are you talking (and listening) to? Are there different departments, organizational levels, etc. going to be present?).

There are some excellent resources available to you to help determine the optimum arrangement. Smart Technologies Inc. sponsors a helpful website: http:/ containing lots of good tips. On this site, you can find suggestions for optimum seating for a number of different meeting types. In addition, there are many books available on the subject, including Successful Meetings: How to Plan, Prepare, and Execute Top-Notch Business Meetings by Henkel and Great Meetings! Great Results by Kelsey and Plumb.

Tip: Give meeting room set-up and seating arrangement plenty of advance thought. Arrive early so you have plenty of time to arrange and organize. Make sure to carefully consider purpose, duration, functionality, and comfort for the attendees.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  meeting preparation 

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