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The best room layouts for your corporate event

You’ve got the fabulous venue – check. Exciting catering – check. You’re ready to wow your delegates with some amazing content – check. Don’t fall at the last hurdle …

The layout of your room can make or break your corporate event!

Different setups offer a totally different learning experience and can open up or close down audience participation.

As you will see, there are lots of meeting room layouts to choose from. So, before you decide, you need to set the goals of your meeting and have a good idea of numbers. Then decide on your meeting room design:

Theatre style

With theatre style seating, chairs are placed in rows facing the speaker on a centre stage/area at the front. Great for;

  • Large groups
  • Product launches
  • Presentations
  • Conferences

Laying a room out this way also allows for maximum occupancy in the space. Don’t forget to leave an aisle or two in the seating to allow for ease of access for delegates.

Boardroom style

One large table – or a number of tables together, form a rectangle and chairs are placed around the outside.

  • Centrally located table
  • Allows for discussion and interactions
  • Smaller meetings

Board meetings are can be long! So, if you’re using this style, consider the comfort of the chairs.

TIP! Don’t forget the audio / visual equipment. You want delegates to experience maximum exposure to the content you’re delivering.

Hollow Square style

A closed U shape – usually 4 tables in a rectangle or square shape with an empty space in the middle.

  • Speaker or panel seated at the head
  • For no more than 40 guests
  • Allows for easy communication and interaction

With a Hollow Square Style, although movement isn’t key – always ensure chairs are not too heavy so delegates can easily get in and out of position without a struggle.


The audience sits in rows with tables in front of them, facing the speaker at the front. Works well for;

  • Note taking during presentations
  • Medium size groups
  • Testing
  • Training

A classroom style layout may require delegates to use laptops, so make sure there are power points, and space underneath tables to store and retrieve laptops bags.

Herringbone Classroom

Just as the classroom style but with tables angled toward the speaker at the front.

  • Allows more discussion than classroom layout

Physically sit at each table before delegates arrive if using the Herringbone Style, so you can check the line of sight from all angles of the room.

Banquet style

Numerous tables – normally round, with chairs around them, scattered over a large space.

  • Round-table group discussions
  • Awards ceremonies

Banquet style is often used for dining so make sure there is plenty of elbow room and personal space.

Cabaret style

This layout is similar to banquet style; round tables with all chairs facing the front. So, a portion of the table does not have seating.

  • Small groups working together
  • Sales team meetings
  • Award ceremonies
  • Training days
  • Long sessions

Cabaret style allows all delegates to see the stage/front of the room and means no one has their backs to the presentation/speaker.

Cocktail style

Small, high tables with no chairs – scattered around a large open space.

  • Highly social event
  • Movement
  • Interactions
  • Networking

A cocktail-style layout requires plenty of open space for delegates to move around freely.

TIP! Consider smaller group collaboration by offering break out areas.


Rectangular tables are placed end to end to create a U shape and chairs are positioned on the outer sides.

  • Seating around three sides
  • Allows for presentations at the front
  • Presentation space in the middle of the room
  • Team briefings
  • Board meeting
  • Smaller groups

Horseshoe is a really versatile layout for all kinds of meetings and is perfect for presentations. If you’re using equipment, remember to check you have a power supply.

A good corporate venue host will allow you to do a test run prior to the meeting, after your initial visit. Here you can check the lighting, test any tech you may be using and ask any questions. If you’re presenting yourself, it can be a good idea to use this time to get comfortable with the space, have a mock meeting and calm any nerves.

And remember, if there is anything you’re not happy with, talk to the venue. They may be able to offer alternative seating, decoration, a change in lighting or a stage. Perhaps if you have any planned activities, rather than changing the layout of the room during your meeting, they can offer additional space?

Whichever layout you choose for your event, Secret Spaces has a collection of amazing venues in which to host it.

TIP! Think about the delegates who can’t be there in person by considering webcasting, online discussions and conference calls.

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