How the Room Set up Can Affect the Success of Your Events

Recently I attended a networking event.  It was my first one in quite a while as I’d been in creation mode building my new online course and I was super excited to get out of the home office and start talking to real people again!

 

I was greeted with champagne – awesome!  And started to mingle.

 

Then comes round the finger food – double awesome!!!  “This networking stuff is great!” I thought to myself.

 

By chance I met the one of the guest speakers before we started the formalities.  She was a super successful business owner who seriously knew her stuff.  But she confessed that she was really nervous because she NEVER speaks in public.  Fortunately she was being interviewed Q&A style which gave her some reassurance..

 

So when it was time to move into the other room for the formalities, I thought to myself “oh dear”.

 

You see as an Event Organiser or MC, you want to make sure that the room is as “friendly” as possible.  And by that I mean that it’s set up right.  This room was very “unfriendly”, which I knew from experience, makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable.  My heart sank for the guest speaker I just met, as her job was going to be made so much harder just because the room was set up the way it was.

 

This room was set up with rows of chairs facing a projector screen that was in the front corner of the room and a table with a projector on it.  Next to the projector was the bar (which I’m assuming is used for when the venue has private functions).

 

The seats were so close to the front of the bar that the only place for the MC/Host to stand was squished into the corner behind the projector table and in front of the screen.

How room set up can affect the success of your events before

Before: The room set up was very difficult and the Host had to stand behind the projector table.

I suspect that most people in the room wouldn’t have thought twice about the room set up, but being an MC and interacting a lot with audiences, I knew that this was not a good setup for the Host.  It was also going to be very tricky when she tried to fit the 2 guests speakers into that space as well.

 

Fortunately, as things turned out, after the housekeeping and a few announcements, somehow I ended up being referred to as to how to fit the guest speakers at the front of the room.  

 

Immediately I went into action mode!  I noticed there were a few spare seats in the room which would give me a bit of wriggle room, so what I suggested is that we do a quick room change before we bring on the guest speakers.  As a bonus it also gave everyone a chance to have a quick stretch.  

 

So what I got everyone to do was fill up the seats at the back, and then I took out the front row of chairs, which opened up space in front of the bar.  We moved the projector table which made a lot more room at the front to fit 3 chairs in for the Q&A from the speakers, and I curved the rows slightly to make it feel more intimate.

 

All of a sudden the room went from “unfriendly” to “friendly” and everyone felt much more comfortable.

How room set up can affect the success of your events after

After: A more “Friendly” room set up: I removed the front row of chairs and the projector table, curved the seats and made room for the 2 guest speakers.

It made the host and speakers feel more relaxed, they instantly gained more credibility as there was now space for them to hold and they weren’t squished behind a table.  The audience also had a better view and were more comfortable.

 

So simply by moving a few chairs around it made such a difference to the feel of the room, the atmosphere created and most importantly the overall mood of the event…  which then affects the overall guest opinion of your event… which then affects talkability of your event, referrals to your events and ultimately if your guests will come back for your next event.

 

4 Top Tips if you are Hosting an Event:

1. Never underestimate the value of a friendly room set up.  It benefits the speaker, the host and your audience/guests. 

 

2. Learn to recognise a “friendly” room set up.  

 

3. Don’t be afraid to move furniture around at the venue before your guests arrive.

(Move it back again after – but don’t put up with a bad setup for the sake of “not being difficult”.)

 

4. If the event has already started, still don’t be afraid to move the furniture around.  Make it a crowd participation activity and get everyone involved in moving their chairs.