You might want to get a chair because it’s time to go over seating layouts! So obviously, when it comes to your event, there’s a certain amount of thought put into sitting arrangements. But on this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday we wanted to bring you something different. Each planner is always aching to come up with something unique to make their event stand out. And this is where today’s episode might come in handy.
Our always cheerful host Will Curran is here to walk you through a great idea for seating layouts. He’ll tell you what’s the best way to think like a stadium to make your general sessions more unique. And we advise you to take notes because this can be an actual game-changer. Are you ready? Let’s talk seating layouts then!
Video Transcription – Seating Layouts: How to Think Like A Stadium to Make Your General Sessions More Unique
What’s going on everybody? It’s Will Curran from Endless Events. And today we’re talking about how to think like a stadium to make your general session unique or more awesome, as I say. And I must admit, for today’s Whiteboard Wednesday I didn’t come up with this idea. This whole concept comes from an event that I spoke at earlier this year called Go West. If you have not heard of Go West, it is such an amazing event. If you’re an event professional, you have to attend it. Go check it out because they’re doing innovative stuff like this all the time. And you know, I just had to give a big shout out to them because they’re the reason why I’m sharing this idea and they came up with this.
Why Seating Layouts Matter
So essentially the way we’re talking about is about seating layouts. And when it comes to your seating layouts for events, everyone’s all about doing stuff unique and different, right? Instead of doing the traditional ballroom chairs where everyone’s kind of sitting and during rows of seats, we’re talking about doing things in the round. Or we’re talking about putting couches on, you know, all those things like that. But it’s all been overdone. And this unique idea, honestly, I’m recommending to all my clients to do because it’s just so cool and so exciting and unique that you have to do it at your next event.
So we’re going to talk a little bit about the layout to this, obviously can be shifted around, feel free to take elements from it and things like that or just feel free to take the whole entire idea but make sure that you give credit out to the Go West folks because this is definitely their idea.
So the way I’m going to describe this is all leading from the stage and then leading outward. In this case, the way they did their stage is they actually did like a triangle diamond in the center of the room. And then everything kind of folded out from there, almost half-round setup, meaning that it wasn’t fully in the round. There was no one behind them, it was mainly on the sides and then obviously kind of in a half-round semi-circle, right? And everything kind of came out from there. Luckily we’ve color-coded this so you’ll be able to understand exactly how this all works.
But the whole concept behind this is the idea that in the back is the highest point similar to when you’re in a stadium. If you’re on the nosebleed seats, you’re at the highest point. But then everything slowly comes down and anchors in as you get closer to the stage and gets lower and lower. This does a of couple of things. It makes it so that people in the back have just as good of a view as the people in the front. But also it gives a huge variety, and sure you could build up bleachers and do this, and that’s been done before at Ted Talks and things like that. What’s cool about this is it offered up a variety of seating.
So, for example, at the top where we had this kind of a bleacher level set up, we had your traditional more ballroom chairs. This is where it has maybe arms or just seating and just normal chairs, right? Then from there then we went into more high top-level tables. After that, the more normal top-level tables. Then some lower chairs. And then we go into the couches, more of a lounge setup. And as you went down it kind of created this angle, which is really cool.
What was awesome that they did for this event that also added to this experience. So from an AB perspective, the lighting started up higher in the back and slowly went down as you got closer. This created this really intimate effect. So, keeping the lighting really, really close to the audience. Super duper cool. Oh my gosh, I get so nerdy and excited just talking about this setup because it makes me so excited for things like this, little simple changes that can help make your event unique.
First Things First
So again, let’s review how the seating was done and how they implemented it. So starting in the back, we just had our normal chairs coming in, sitting on top of these bleacher-Esque setups. And if you look at the top-down view, you can see these were kind of in the main back area of here as well. They’re the furthest seats away from the audience. But what’s great about it is, some people just really like these traditional ballroom sets. They don’t want to be close to the stage. They want to be able to dip out for a quick call or something like that and get out really, really fast. It gave that opportunity for them to be in the back and again to get that view.
The next tables that came in were more high top tables, more standing high bar top-level chairs. So what was great about this is not only does it give the opportunity if someone wants to sit in a high top to be able to do this, but it also gives the opportunity for someone like me. For example, where I stand all day typically, gives me the opportunity to stand, super-duper cool. What’s also even cooler about this is they offered two types of high top tables. They had not only the traditional small round maybe sits two people high top table, but they also did these nice long multiple tables that hold six, seven, eight people. So if you have a big group with you, your whole team or something like that, you have that option. But if you are just by yourself, you know you weren’t having to take up a whole table of six just for you. So again, high top tables were the next step.
The Other Tables
Then we did kind of a normal setup of tables, and they did this in a couple of different ways. They not only did it in big round tables that held six people, that we’re used to seeing. But they also did it where they were long tables, similar to the long high top tables. But long tables that held more people. So if you have a big group and you wanted to be closer together, you had that option as well. Just a huge variety of seatings when it comes to the normal range of seats. And again, that was the next layer in. You can almost see it’s like an onion. We’re getting closer and closer and closer.
The next level was a low top table. So again, maybe more like a coffee table or maybe just a little bit lower than that, you know, seats with two tables, maybe three people at them. That sort of options kind of gave it as well. And you know, just like a little bit more casual. Just need a place to put my coffee. Don’t necessarily need a place to write down notes or use my laptop. Just an area that I can lay my coffee down because we all don’t know how much we need. And again, we’re getting closer inward towards the stage.
Then the last thing they do, and this is super popular, is people love lounge furniture at events. They then put the couches as the closest seats to the front. So this was really, really cool because it gave a really, really intimate experience. But also because they were the lowest seats, it didn’t obstruct the view of the people behind it, and you didn’t have to create the stadium bleachers all the way through. It naturally created that progression just with the seating. Wow. So cool. And then obviously we had the stage right here. You can obviously do this in many different ways. You don’t have to do in the half-round setup or anything like that. But I think it just created this really unique experience where again, the people in the back slowly brought your mind all the way down.
And again, you put some trussing along here that kind of gets lower and lower as you get along. And it just draws your attention naturally to the stage. While also continuing to make it feel very close. So this gives you a ton of benefits. First, it gives beneficial seating for everyone to be able to see a lot better. It gives people the choice of a variety of seating as well, so they can choose the way they want to be, but also gives choice in variety of positioning as well. And you know, if you don’t want to sit right in the very, very front, you have that option to go down in the middle and everything in between. But again, making it super comfortable, making it feel lived in and more like a living room than anything, and making us feel at home. That’s what it’s all about at events, right?
So this is just a concept I had to share on seating layouts. Because I thought it was super duper cool and super-duper unique when it came to events. Just the variety of seating that you had as an option to be able to make your event feel a little bit more unique. So I’d love to know what you think. How would you change this setup? How would you do things a little bit differently? Have you done something like this before? Did it work really well? Did it not work really well? What’d you think about this? So I’d love to hear all your opinions. Or if you’re planning on doing this for your next event, let us know down in the comments and let us know when you’re going to be implementing this idea and doing it for your next event.
While you’re also down there, make sure to hit that subscribe button and that bell icon so that way you get notified every single time we do a Whiteboard Wednesday. I’d love to see you back here next time. We’ll see you next week on Whiteboard Wednesday!