In the world of events some elements are supremely important while some others tend to take a backseat. For example, the event agenda, food & beverage and the venue itself are no doubt crucial and need detailed planning. But a factor that is generally overlooked, but is just as important, is that of seating. A proper, well-planned seating arrangement ensures how guests interact with one another, grasp and share information, and how pumped they feel about the entire event.
Take a look at some of the popular seating trends that are taking the events industry by storm.
1. Make your attendees feel comfortable
Nobody wants to go to an event that feels too ‘conferency’. Even if the content of your event is serious and there are going to be long-drawn discussions, make sure you lighten the mood with some fun seating. Make attendees feel relaxed and comfortable and encourage them to acquaint themselves with one another. This will not only help them network better but content retention will be better too.
2. Have smaller seating sections
If your event is going to run for long time, make sure attendees can get up and move around. Sitting for a long time surely hampers their experience and makes them irritable. Having smaller seating sections will save them the pain of moving around awkwardly and disturbing others when they do so.
3. Make sure each part of your space is visible so that attendees feel safe
We cannot emphasize enough on the safety of attendees. It may not be one of the factors that you think attendees stress about, but they actually do. Make sure the entire event space is visible to them so that they do not fret about safety when they are inside the space. Mark the staircases and emergency exits clearly and quickly brief them about the floor plan before the event starts. In case of an evacuation, your guests must be familiar with the floor plan so that they can find their way out with least amount of hassle.
4. Include relaxation stations and cozy furniture in you seating plan
Well, tread this path a bit carefully, but surely take it if your audience is young and anyone after the millennial generation. Add some comfortable and quirky seating to ensure guests can just quickly get up, stretch and sit back; this will ensure they aren’t too burnt out by the end of the session and improve their concentration levels too. You could also have a designated area for them to break into light exercises (yoga or some quick meditation). Moreover, you could replace regular seating with exercise balls which help attendees stay alert and concentrate better on the sessions.
5. Charging stations are a must
Your guests are obviously going to have a cell phone on them and may also be carrying a laptop or a tablet. You must provide charging stations so that their devices are charged at all times and they can stay connected to the outside world while attending your event. Make sure to place charging stations away from the main event space. This way, guests can move away from the seating space, recharge themselves and their gadgets. Also, having these stations away from the main event space ensures others who are tuned into the session aren’t disturbed as their peers look for an electric outlet.
Wireless charging is another option you can consider. The type of charging station is small and can be easily included throughout your seating plan.
6. Choose circular seating over straight
Round table seating always wins over the conventional theatre-style seating. In the latter, participants can only talk to people sitting right next to them or in the immediate front/back rows. Circular seating allows everyone to see each other, which fosters conversations and keeps unnecessary movement at bay. Round table seating also eliminates the problem of ‘which is the best seat’ because visual accessibility is good for every member.
7. A vibrant mix never hurt anyone
Try and infuse mixed seating styles in your event space. Have a certain area with lecture-style seating and in some spaces have more unconventional seating. This not only makes the space more visually appealing but allows guests to try different seating spots through the course of the session and experience the event from different viewpoints.
8. Invest in a kickback lounge area
Creating a casual ambience at events is a popular trend these days and is here to stay. Invest in home design aesthetics such as comfortable seating and greenery, thus creating a lounge zone for guests to just relax and rejuvenate. This is especially important if the content of your sessions is extremely serious and the sessions are expected to run for a long time. Stylized zones like these surely add to an attendee’s experience, increasing the chances of them attending the next edition.
To conclude, seating layouts are as important as lighting, event schedule and other elements that event organizers surely include in their checklist. Make sure to use a suitable mix of the above listed tips and offer your guests a stellar experience.