When you host a workshop or multi day event, the meeting room should be set up the right way for the type of event you are running. There are several styles of workshop room set ups to choose from. There are room set ups that are especially suited for instruction with little interaction and there are other set ups in which interaction is stimulated. Keep your vision and your strategy in mind when you select the set up. If you want your attendees to have more opportunities to interact, which stimulates learning anyway, choose one of these set ups that are conducive to collaborating.
For Working in Small Groups:
This is probably my favorite set up for an interactive workshop. In the cluster conference set up, three 5′ or 6′ conference tables are set up in groups (clusters or pods) of 6 people facing each other and the front of the room. The tables are at an angle, so that the participants can see the presenter and AV in the room. When it comes time to work in groups this is the perfect set up.
A similar set up is crescent rounds. Large (72”) tables are set up with chairs only on one side of the table facing the front. Participants can also see the presenter, any AV at the front of the room and still work in small groups. Seating at the tables are usually limited to only 5 attendees. Any more and it becomes crowded at the table or one person has to sit with their back to the presenter.
For interacting in a larger group:
If you have a meeting for 24-32 people or less, a U-shape usually works best. In a U-shape, the tables are placed in a U with the open end facing the front of the room. This allows everyone to see each other, the presenter and any AV in the front of the room. This is the most popular set up for smaller meetings. It allows the attendees to ask questions and make comments without the other participants having to turn around or strain to hear them.
These are my favorite room set ups for small workshops and boot camps. As soon as your event grows to 100 and up, you are limited in your set ups. Classroom style is the preferred set up for large groups that have to take notes. Remember your vision and what you want your attendees to get out of your workshop. That will guide you in which set up to choose.