It’s time to discuss seating arrangements! It’s obvious that when you plan your event, the seating arrangements are carefully considered. This week, we’ve decided to do something different for Whiteboard Wednesday. Every planner wants to create a unique idea to make their event stand out. This is where today’s episode might be useful.

Will Curran, our always-cheerful host, is here to share a great seating idea. He will tell you how to create a unique general session by thinking like a stadium. We recommend you take notes because this could be a game changer. Are you ready to go? The seating arrangements are prepared!

Video Transcription: Seating Layouts – How to Think like a Stadium to Make General Sessions Unique

What’s the latest? Will Curran, Endless Events. Today, we are talking about thinking like a stadium in order to make your general sessions unique or awesome, as I call them. This idea was not mine. The idea for this concept came from a Go West event I spoke at in the past year. Go West is a fantastic event if you’ve never heard of it. You must attend if you are an event professional. Check it out; they do innovative things like this every day. You know, I had to shout them out because they are the reason I am sharing this idea.

Why seating layouts matter

We’re referring to seating arrangements. When it comes to seating arrangements for events, we all want something unique and different. We’re not talking about the traditional ballroom seating where everyone sits in rows. Instead, we want to do things in the round. We’re also talking about couches and other things. It’s been done to death. This unique idea is something I recommend to all of my clients because it’s so amazing, cool, and exciting that it has to be done at your next event.

We’ll talk about the layout of this. It can be moved around. Feel free to use elements and other things from it. Or, you can take the entire idea. Just make sure to give credit to the Go West people because this was their idea.

The Concept

The way I will describe it is that you start from the stage and then move outward. The location was set up in this case by creating a diamond-shaped triangle in the middle of the room. Then, everything folded out, creating a half-round setup. No one was behind them. It was mostly on the sides. Then, it was obviously in a semi-circle. Everything started from there. We’ve color-coded everything so that you can understand how it all works.

The idea behind it is that the highest point is at the back, similar to when in a stadium. You’re at your highest point if you are in the nosebleeds. As you get closer to the stage, everything starts to anchor in. This accomplishes a couple of things. This allows people to see the same as those in front. It’s a great way to add variety. You could also build bleachers, which has been done at Ted Talks, etc. This is cool because it offers a wide variety of seating.

The Setup

For example, on the upper level, where we had a kind of bleacher-level setup, we had more traditional ballroom chairs. It’s where you can find chairs with arms or just regular seating. From there, we moved on to higher top-level tables. Then, we moved on to the normal top-level table. Next, we have some lower-level chairs. Then, we move on to the couches. This is more of a lounge setup. As you went down, it created a very cool angle.

What they did to make this event even more memorable was amazing. From an AB perspective, the lighting began higher at the back and gradually decreased as you approached. This gave the effect of being really close to the audience. Keep the light really, really near the audience. Super duper cool. This setup makes me so nerdy, and I’m so excited to talk about it. It’s the kind of thing that can make an event special.

The Implementation

First Things First

Let’s go over the seating again and see how it was implemented. Starting in the rear, we had just our regular chairs sitting on top of these bleacher-esque arrangements. If you look down at this view, you’ll see that these seats were also in the main area behind the stage. These are the seats furthest away from the audience. Some people love the traditional ballroom setups. They don’t like to be near the location. They want to have the ability to leave for a call or whatever quickly and to get out very, very fast. They could be at the back to see everything.

Part 2

Next came more high-top tables and more chairs that stood at the top of the bar. This was great because it gave me the chance to stand, even though I usually sit at a high-top table. It’s super cool that I can stand in the place where I usually stand. It was even more cool that they had two different types of high-top tables. There were not only the small round high-top tables for two people but also these long multi-tables that could hold 6, 7, 8, or more people. If you are a large group, like your team, or anything else, this is an option. If you’re alone, you don’t have to use a table for six people. The next step was high-top tables.

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