Floor Plans For Corporate Events, Part 2
Corporate events can range from anything from a simple lecture to a full-blown convention. Each require a thought-out plan of action and a well-defined and clear mission. The right kind of floor plan can help reinforce and facilitate these missions by directing focus, encouraging or discouraging collaboration, and creating a standard of behavior.
Lectures and Panels
When people think of corporate events, they often think of lectures. These can be set up in a multitude of ways depending on how big the audience is and the kind of speakers at the event. A larger group, meaning 100+ people, is going to allow less variety in your floor plan. The bigger the crowd the more standard your floor plan becomes. Bigger crowds require more space. Because of this, it generally comes down to creating slightly curved rows. Curved rows allow for you to create longer rows while also allowing all audience members to see the speaker/speakers from any of their perspective seats. When creating these rows, it is important to create walking space between them. This gets increasingly important the bigger the group is, as someone with a microphone may need to get in between the rows if there is a question and answer portion to the lectures.
A larger group, meaning 100+ people, is going to allow less variety in your floor plan. The bigger the crowd the more standard your floor plan becomes.
For smaller groups, there can be more variety depending on the type of speaker you have. If the speaker is a more of a lecture-based speaker and the audience is there to learn from said speaker, rows may still be your best option. Rows not only allow everyone to have a great view point, as was discussed earlier, but they also point the audience to where they need to focus and discourage side conversations with others.
If the speaker is more lecture based, but the audience can critique them or interact with them, then you may want to create a horseshoe formation around where the speaker is talking. This still discourages side conversations while the speaker is presenting, but it allows for the audience to see and feed off each other while giving critiques. It also makes sure that everyone can be seen and have a voice without being hidden or lost three rows behind everyone else. The horseshoe strategy works best for groups with a maximum of 20-30 people depending on the size of your facility. For bigger groups or in the case of smaller spaces, it may be necessary to create multiple rows in a horseshoe shape. If this is the case, try to put the second row of chairs in the spaces between the first-row chairs, often called windows, so that the second row of audience members can effectively see and be part of the discussion.
Finally, if you are having multiple speakers or a panel of speakers, encompass them into the conversation as much as possible. If the group is smaller, create a circle or oval shape so that the panel becomes part of the group. This will allow for easier conversation, and a more natural flow for the speakers. Make sure that if they are sitting as part of the group, they are not sitting next to each other. By sitting across from each other or in different sections of the circle, the panelists will be able to see each other which helps them build off and not interrupt one another.
Job Fairs and Expos
Planning an expo or job fair takes a lot of time and effort to get right. The refreshments, vendor tables, and any area for speakers and activities, tend to take up a huge amount of space. This requires one to map out and create precise places for each part of the fair or expo . The refreshments and information table should be near the front entrance. This allows people to have a place to not only sign in, but to also collect themselves and scout out any specific businesses they would like to make sure and meet. It is important that this is a rather big area, so that as people collect themselves they do not create a huge cluster of people at the main entryway.
To help people scout out the venue, similar or complimentary businesses or skills should be set near each other. In most wedding expos, food is placed in one area, dresses, veils, and garters are placed in another, and event planners and decorators are in yet another. This allows people with one specific need in mind to be able price check, compare, and explore complimentary services they may not have thought about. It is important to keep in mind that if the job fair or expo is successful, multiple people will be showing up to network with the different vendors. This means people need to be able to move easily through and around the vendor displays. In order to accomplish this, limit each vendor to a table space. Place these tables into different rows that display all the different kinds of vendors easily. Make sure to make your aisles extra wide, so that people can stop and talk with different vendors without holding up other people from walking on.
The refreshments, vendor tables, and any area for speakers and activities, tend to take up a huge amount of space. This requires one to map out and create precise places for each part of the fair or expo
Lastly, if there are any activities like a drawing, raffle, or speaker, make sure to have a space to perform these tasks. If there is a stage or raised area, then this spot is easy to prepare. However, if there is no stage or raised area, create a small space at the end of the expo or near the back of the venue. When the activity and main attractions are near the back, it forces people to walk through all the vendors before getting to the main event. This assists vendors in getting people to stop by and look at the vendor items.
Training is extremely important in the corporate world, and it can be completely ruined by a floor plan that is not set up to match its needs. The first kind of training many businesses have employees go through is a lecture, which we have already discussed above. This is more of an individual-based training. Another individual-based training is one that deals with technology. Technology is a huge cause for training, and when done in lecture format or any other format, it is extremely important to make sure that there are enough outlets for employees who need to charge their laptops or other devices. If possible, it may be beneficial to get tables with outlets already placed on them, portable chargers that multiple people can use at once, or bring in extension cords when necessary. CAUTION: if you use extension cords for employees to plug in their computers, you need to make sure to tape them down so that no one trips over them. They should be placed down in strategic places before the training begins.
Other kinds of training include activity-based or collaboration-based training. For the activity-based training, it is important to have limited seating near the front or sides of the room. This allows employees a place to rest when needed, sit to take notes, and a place to set down any belongings they bring with them. The back and middle of the room should be wide open and prepped with whatever activity the training will start with. This allows for people to spread out during activities. This is important because physical activities or activities that require movement in close spaces can sometimes cause accidents resulting in injuries to a person or piece of property.
Training is extremely important in the corporate world, and it can be completely ruined by a floor plan that is not set up to match its needs.
Collaboration-based training means that though parts of the training may be lecture, other parts require pairs or small groups of people to work on or discuss a problem or situation. This is when tables, preferably round tables, should be used. When everyone can sit around a table, make eye contact, and connect with one another, people become more open to sharing and collaborating on ideas. These tables should be centered around one focal point, or where the speaker will be standing for most of the time. They should also be spread out enough, so they don’t distract one another and so that the speaker can walk around and help each table when needed.
Corporate events can be fun, engaging, and create a powerful impact on those who attend them. Whether they are trying to gain knowledge from a lecture, network at a job fair, or learn a new company policy, corporate events are important and useful. The right kind of floor plan can help elevate corporate events into success by creating focal points, encouraging collaboration, and discouraging distractions.