The Voice of Professional Speakers in Arizona

Meeting Room Selection and Set-up

What to look for when selecting a meeting location

Theater-style seating with no audio-visuals requires a minimum of 7 square feet a person

Theater-style seating with audio-visuals requires a minimum of 10 square feet a person

Additional space will be required for multi-media presentations

In classroom seating with tables, consider the distance between tables. The more space used between tables, the more comfortable the attendees will be

For all-day seminars, attendees may receive notebooks or additional handouts. Make space for supplies at the entrance to the room

Note size of room, including unusual shape and ceiling height

Note capacity of room when set in various configurations

Note obstructions in the room that would block audience view

Note placement of decorative mirrors in room if audio-visuals are to be used

Ensure there are good quality blackout drapes for rooms with windows

Location of skylights, if they can be covered, and cost of covering them

Chandelier placement and dimension from bottom of chandelier to floor

Note the quality, condition, and soundproofing of airwalls if used to divide a room into sections

Acoustical quality of room and availability of a good sound system

Lighting controls in rooms and options available for dimming

Built-in equipment such as chalkboards, screens, flip charts

Permanent furniture such as special conference tables or lounges

Location of fire exits

Service corridor accessibility to meeting rooms

Cleanliness & general quality of public space

Accessibility of meeting space from both lobby and sleeping rooms

Relative proximity of meeting rooms to each other

Availability of house and public telephones

Here's what else to look for

Each meeting or function room’s setup will vary according to the event.

Theatre or auditorium -- best for lecture-type meetings

Schoolroom or classroom -- also suited for lecture-type meetings, but better suited for note-taking

Conference -- attendees sit at tables which can be configured into a variety of shapes (a hollow square or U-shaped); good for interactive meetings

Banquet or Roundtable Discussion (Rounds): attendees sit at round tables; used for banquets, seminars and lecture/roundtable discussions

Other elements to consider

Ceiling height -- this can be deceptive in an empty room. Don’t put large groups in a low ceiling room if you can help it.

Audio/Visual requirements -- rear screen projection requires 20% more space behind the screen and adequate ceiling height.

Ventilation & lighting -- is it adequate? Light switches accessible?

Telephone -- is one already there or will you need an extension?

Table -- for registration or hand-out materials; from a single table to an extensive station

Audio-Visual equipment

Audio/Visual aids can add variety and excitement to your meeting, as well as enhance learning. Encourage your speakers and conference leaders to use A/V materials when appropriate and discuss their needs with you in advance. It's up to you to make sure that the right equipment is available.

Most meeting facilities have an in-house A/V department which can supply both equipment and technicians.

Among your decisions is the type of microphone that is best for your meeting sessions:

  • Lavalier – Lapel, Wireless, and Lectern
  • Table, Floor, and Omni-Directional (picks up audience comments)

Depending on the type of presentation, your speaker’s preferences and the size of your group, visual aids can include:

  • Computer generation, 35mm slides, and videotape
  • Overhead transparencies and 16mm film

Each visual aid requires a different projection technique and the screens can vary in size. Different project equipment may reduce your seating availability or obstruct attendees' views.

Give your speakers an opportunity to rehearse with the equipment by setting up a room for this purpose. Also remember to test all equipment immediately before each meeting starts. Have spare bulbs & extension cords on hand, too.

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Cavett Robert

"As speakers, we never fight over the size of our slice of the pie, we build a bigger pie."
-Cavett Robert, NSA Founder
(1907-1997)