It’s time for another episode of Whiteboard Wednesday, and this time we’re building the ultimate event layout! Just like many other parts of your event, layout is something to think about. A messy layout can quickly become the downfall of the entire meeting or convention. But on the other hand, a great layout might just be the key to get your attendees to fall in love with the event! We’ve covered some variations of this topic before. However, for this week’s episode, we’re going straight into the gold!

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Our host Will Curran is here to introduce you to the ultimate event layout. Putting together thoughts and ideas from several events, Will came up with this game-changing idea. So, are you ready to find out what is the ultimate event layout that will make your attendees fall in love, and return for round two? Then press play, it’s time for Whiteboard Wednesday!

ultimate event layout


Video Transcription – How To Create The Ultimate Event Layout Attendees Will Fall In Love With

Hey, how’s it going everybody? Will Curran, Whiteboard Wednesday. Welcome back again. Today we’re talking about this specific ultimate event layout, and how it is going to get your attendees to fall in love with your event. I’m really, really excited to share this with you. This has been a concept, an idea that I’ve been toying around with. And I’m excited to finally share it with the world. But I got to admit I didn’t come up with this idea. Just like all great things. I took this idea from a couple of different events and kind of hodgepodged it together to make this like ultimate event layout. And as I’m explaining this, you might be thinking yourself, “Well, this isn’t possible in my venue”. Or “I have no way of doing it.” All I’m looking for is you to take a little snippet of this and figure out how you can implement it into your event. And maybe even truly have your attendees fall in love with your event as well.

What’s The Target Of The Ultimate Event Layout?

So I’m going to talk you guys through this. Obviously it’s very specific, if you wanted to do a whole of this, you’re going to need a very specific type of venue to pull this off. But I think it’s going to make your event awesome. So let’s dive right on in. And real quick, this is primarily skewed primarily to corporate conferences, corporate meetings, things like that. Obviously this isn’t like a wedding layout. This wouldn’t be primarily for a social event. So there are a couple of different components that are required to kind of pull this all off. But again, if you can pull part of it in, for example, maybe there is a way to bring this into your wedding. I don’t know, but let’s start off with kind of what everything looks like. And we’re going to start off with the main section where everybody enters and you kind of have this big nice red arrow.

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Let’s Get Going!

Ultimate Event Layout: The Main Section

Obviously everyone comes to the event primarily, usually through registration or the front entranceway, right? So let’s say, for example, everyone’s coming in. They come in registration, then they’re going to come on in to the first area they come into. And primarily in a lot of conference cases or events spaces, they’re walking in. And they just walk into an empty hallway and sometimes we put activities in there. Sometimes we have whiteboards for them to draw on, or they have like a place you’d have some seating to hang out. Sometimes it’s a meal room they walk into immediately. So what I’m proposing though is instead of having your front entrance, once they go past registration, everything to walk straight into your exhibit hall. And that’s what this exhibit hall is right here. I’m going to talk a little bit about the specific layout of an exhibit hall that I think is just amazing.

Some Inspiration From Inbound

And I actually stole this idea from Inbound, the marketing conference. Though they don’t like to be called a conference, they just like to be called an event. So something to keep in mind. Inbound does this really, really interesting thing with their exhibit layout. Instead of doing the traditional rows and columns and everyone gets a 10 by 10 booth, or some people pay more and get a 20 by 20 and things like that. That is so old fashioned. They looked at how they could do it completely differently. And what they do is every single one of these exhibitors gets the exact same space. The exact same specs, the exact same signage. And you might be thinking yourself, “Well we do that already”. But what the way they do it is instead of doing a booth in any sort of way, they do these kinds of, how would you describe it?

A column or a small wall essentially that separates them. And what they do is they put two vendors on each wall, one on one side and the other on the other side. They get their logo above it, they get a TV and they get a high boy. That’s it. And it keeps it really, really simple. So everybody has the exact same setup. So it keeps everyone obviously on an equal playing field. Not everyone has to have these multimillion-dollar booths with huge productions. And this is coming from a production guy. I want you to spend money on production, right? Everyone’s getting the same exact thing. It levels the playing field. So what’s great about this as well is because it’s open air. And it’s just literally a wall behind them, it forces that people can walk around them and it keeps the flow of the entire layout of the exhibit hall really, really open. Which is really cool.

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The Ultimate Event Layout Gives You The Ultimate Chill

And what’s also great about this, is instead of having these big booths that you have to walk into, they’re just kind of all spread throughout the entire exhibit hall. And what’s cool about that is it really makes it more relaxing. It makes it less intimidating for me as an attendee to feel the need to go into the exhibit hall. Because I’m not going to lie. As an attendee, unless I really need to talk to a vendor, I don’t go into the exhibit hall. Because I just know that I’m to walk down the hallways, people are going to stop me, people are going to try to create awkward conversations, try to sell me stuff. But obviously, as we know as event planners that exhibit halls are a great place to get business done. And also are a great source of revenue because we want to sell these booths. So they do is they create that wall.

Elevating Your Event Layout

Everybody has the same exact thing, it creates this really open floor plan. What they did to take it to the next level is during the day they have like a drink station right in the middle. And probably have some food stations spread throughout, and there’s some activities happening around the edges as well as massage booths and photo booths. Plus there’s soft seating for people to sit at couches and relax. And it’s a big area, but during the night it is the coolest thing. That’s where this DJ comes in. At the end of the day when everybody’s done and all the sessions are done, all the general sessions let out. And they obviously, like we love to do, we love to do happy hours in our exhibit hall. We get everyone to come back and interact with them. What they’ve done is they said, “Hey, we’ve had all day, you’ve had all the chance to do business, all you want, let’s turn this into a social space.”

So they put a DJ right in the middle, they have speakers everywhere. They have lights and it turns into a club and they call it club Inbound. So cool. They don’t even call it their exhibit hall, they just call it club Inbound. Which makes it so, I’ll use the word disarming. It makes you not think of it as exhibit hall. It makes you think of it as this cool place to hang out. Super duper cool. So, that’s one of my favorite things. But guess what guys? That’s not the only piece of the layout that I love and that I think that you’re going to get a ton of value out of. So the other kind of concept, this concept also came from another marketing conference called Icon. It’s this idea of using your exhibit hall as the primary place that people have to go in and go out.

The Role of The Conference Hall in The Ultimate Event Layout

And the way that they do this, Inbound does this as well and so does Icon, is that Inbound does it with a piece of drape. Which I think is just really, really cool. So they have this entire gigantic room. And then what they do is they put a piece of drape right here. And what they do is they actually put it on motors and rig it. So then what happens is let’s say the exhibit hall opens up at 9:00 AM. First general session starts at 10 o’clock, so at 9:55 they use the motors to lift the entire drape up, revealing the general session. Which is so cool. And it’s obviously this big, hugely impactful moment. I mean literally hundreds of people are all waiting right here because they all want to get in to get the best seats because everyone an equal opportunity. It opens wide open.

So that way you’re not having to squeeze through doors or anything like that. And what’s so great about it is it just creates this super anticipating moment for the general session to open. And what’s so amazing and I love that reveal, obviously you can do that in a lot of different ways, right? Like you do your normal general session, put a big drape and reveal it. But what I love about this layout and why people … I think it’s going to have attendees fall in love with your event. Exhibitors are going to fall in love with your event and you’re going to fall in love with this. Is that it requires every single person to walk through the exhibit hall in order to get to the general session. We know the general session is always the most popular pieces of content. That’s why we spend so much money on keynote speakers, the production for the stage. But forces every single person to hang out in the exhibit hall to walk past exhibitors in order to get into the general session.

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The Ultimate Event Layout Gets Down To Business

So cool. It creates such a great, intimate experience and it’s awesome. So that’s a no brainer, right? We kind of do this. Sometimes we put exhibitors in the foyer of the ballroom, sometimes, things like that. But the next level of this is then to have also the same area, go into your breakout sessions as well. Again, creating this hub in the middle where all your attendees are going to be hanging out the entire time. What it’s going to do, it’s going to help your exhibitors sell more, because they’re going to feel disarmed that they’re not hanging out in exhibit hall, they’re hanging out in this cool space. But then also it is the one place you have to keep coming back to, to do your meetings in between sessions, everything like that. So it’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Make Them Fall In Love

And again, as I said, it’s going to take a very specific type of venue to be able to do this. They obviously have a very, very large space to work. In that they break up with the drape and everything like that. But think of little ways you can do this. I already kind of explained a little bit with it with, for example, putting your exhibitors may be in the foyer. If you’re doing, for example, maybe a wedding, maybe creating this space where it transitions and transforms over time to reveal and move people through it rather than making them: “Oh, Hey, um okay. I want to go from the general session. I have to walk into an empty hallway where nothing’s going on except for people on their cell phone.” Right? “And then I’ll go to the next one.” It kind of takes you out of the event.

The Ultimate Event Layout: Conclusions

This really transitions and makes you fall in love the entire time all the way through. So I’d love to know if you have any unique layouts for your events that you think is awesome or if you’ve done this before. I’d love to hear it and how it worked and some lessons that you learned along the way as well. But I hope this was extremely helpful. If it was sure to smash that like button. If you didn’t like it, smash the dislike button to let us know down in the comments below what we can improve upon when it comes to these videos. We’re getting just nothing but great feedback. But if you really, really, really liked this content, make sure you subscribe. Subscribe, and also ring that bell icon so that way you get notified every single time we post a whiteboard Wednesday right here at Endless Events. I hope you guys have enjoyed this content. My name is Will Curran, and let’s get out of here.



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Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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