The Benefits of a Diverse Seating Plan
Forget bears, everyone knows that Goldilocks was in search of the perfect fit. Whether that be porridge, a comfy bed, or a chair, she knew what she liked. At events, no two attendees are the same. As impactful as conferences are, they’re long events filled with marathon hours of sitting and listening to speakers. Audience engagement tends to be low and endless cups of coffee are needed to keep one alert. It’s unlikely that conferences will divert from the standard multi-day speaker event, so what can you do to make sure your attendees have a great experience?
It’s as simple as a chair.
Comfort isn’t superfluous, it’s a necessity. When an attendee is constantly shifting to find a relaxed position, they aren’t paying attention. A speaker can only hold an attendee’s attention for so long before distractions force attendees to lose track of what’s being said.
What factors might make you want to think about using different chairs?
Length of the Conference
If you’re hosting a daylong conference that takes place in one room, then multiple seating options may help guests stay focused. Eight hours in one chair is barely doable at the office. It’s the same at a conference, even if the content presented is outstanding. When planning, consider how long a person can sit without moving and how many breaks will be possible during the event. If there aren’t any breakout sessions, giving guests the opportunity to move around, use different types of chairs. You don’t want your guests to choose between missing content in order to stretch their legs or being uncomfortable.
Size of the Room
If you are limited to one large hall, then different spaces can break up a room. The front of the room can be set up with traditional chairs, the side lined by couches and chairs, and the back flanked by bar chairs and high tables. The flow of the room allows easy movement and provides spaces for guests that can be used to take a moment to relax, to focus, or to eat a snack without detracting from the speaker.
Audience chatter during a talk isn’t ideal, but some guests take in information best when they can quietly discuss it with a neighbor. The use of tables and living room setups utilizing couches and armchairs can create a sense of closeness amongst attendees and facilitate conversation at breaks. Create different spaces for guests that make them feel like talking.
Emphasis on the Individual
No one experiences a room the same way. Where one guest could be sweating, another might be freezing. Remember that no two bodies are the same and one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to chairs. A variety of options makes guests feel unique and cared for. This individual focus can make the event feel as if it was designed with every person in mind.
What to choose? Luckily, there are many options. From straight backed wooden chairs to couches littered with event branded pillows, the choices are endless. Before you plan your next event, take some time to think about how to make guests as comfortable as possible and what individualistic touches can be added to align with a diverse group of attendees. Conferences shouldn’t be something to suffer through, instead an event that fosters creativity and collaboration. Help your attendees feel like Goldilocks and let them choose their ‘just right’.