One of the best ways to contribute to this is…remove the seats!
No not all of the seats. What I mean is to simply be aware of the seat situation. It is nearly always better to be short of seats than to have too many.
While it goes against our instinct, because we want everyone to have a seat to sit on, when you have too many seats, the audience is spread out, the energy dissipates and everything feels a little flat. So, if you have 300 delegates booked in, why not only have 270 seats available with 30 spares stashed at the side? You may find 50 of your delegates are, in fact, sponsors who were not coming to the main room anyway.
As most of us know, the second day of a conference typically has fewer delegates. They either wanted to sleep in or only planned on coming to the first day anyway. Because we know that, why not remove some of the seats for day two as well?
We also know, after lunch on that last day, even more people will leave. They are heading home early, have had enough or have just left for whatever reason. We know it happens, so let’s plan for it. At lunch, have the crew remove some more seats.
This is not just for the plenary. The same principles apply for your breakout rooms. Don’t overload them with seats just so they look full.
By forcing the delegates to sit close to each other, you build the buzz, get the networking happening and maintain the excitement of the event, regardless of how many people are in the room.
Your chair/table/seating management is an often overlooked yet effective tool for influencing your atmosphere. Most often people notice the empty chairs more than they recognise that chairs have been removed.
It is a very simple thing to do and it maintains the energy for your speakers, your clients and, most importantly, your delegates. Make sure you manage your seating to maintain your event’s atmosphere. Your delegates will love you for it.
Warwick Merry is a global award-winning event host and event evangelist. For over 20 years he has been hosting and producing online, hybrid and in-person events. He is the host of the Making Events Awesome livestream and Making Events Awesome group.