3 Considerations When You are Selecting Audience Seating Style
“When speaking in public, your message – no matter how important – will not be effective or memorable if you don’t have a clear structure.” – Patricia Fripp
Have you ever thought how much impact the audience seating style has on your presentation success? Audience seating style has a tremendous effect on you delivering a successful presentation.
The graphics in this article comes from Choosing the Best Seating Style for Your Audience.
In this article, I will talk about your three main questions you want to ask when you are deciding the audience seating style for your presentation: (1) Do you want to generate audience discussion?, (2) Do you need to convey information to your audience?, and (3) Do you want to have the focus on your audience or on you?
Do You Want to Generate Audience Discussion?
If you want the audience to discuss the presentation subject with you and other audience members, you must have an audience seating style where all audience members can see each other.
To encourage discussion with your audience, you will need to have an open seating arrangement like U-Shaped seating or Horse Shoe seating:
If you want to encourage discussion primarily between audience members, you can try the Hollow Square arrangement or, for small meetings, the Boardroom arrangement:
If there is a banquet associated with the presentation, you may want to try the Banquet arrangement or the Cabaret audience seating style:
Do You Need to Convey Information to Your Audience?
If you need to convey information quickly without discussion, the best audience seating styles are Theatre, Classroom, Herring Bone or Cabaret:
Do You Want the Focus to be on the Audience or on You?
If you need to keep the focus on the audience and not on you, use a closed audience seating style such as Hollow Square, Boardroom, or Banquet
If you need to keep the focus on you, use an open audience seating style such as Theatre, Classroom, or Herring Bone.
So to determine the audience seating style best suited to your presentation, ask yourself these questions: (1) Do I want to generate audience discussion?, (2) Do I need to convey information to my audience?, and (3) Do I want to have the focus on my audience or on me? If you ask these questions, your audience seating style will be appropriate for your presentation.
Sometimes, you may not have a choice as to the audience seating style. In this case, know well in advance the audience seating style you will encounter at your presentation’s venue. Then you will have time to adjust your presentation to take full advantage of the audience seating style.
The bottom line is audience seating style is vital when determining your presentation!
“There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting, public speaking.” – Jean de la Bruyere
Looking for professional services to help you significantly increase your influence with your audiences? Contact DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Office – (703) 815-1324 Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424