Setting the stage for an effective meeting is a little more complex than
dragging chairs from the lunchroom to the boardroom. When you set up your
meeting space, you need to consider the style of meeting and the technology
that is going to be used.
Theater-style seating consists of several rows of chairs facing the front
of the room. This arrangement works best for formal presentations, where participants
are focused on the presenter. Because there are no tables, this arrangement
isn't conducive to taking notes or working on a laptop.
a projector, screen and laptop should be situated at the front of the room.
Alternatively, an interactive whiteboard (such as the SMART Board) could replace
a pull-down screen. The SMART Board works with a computer and projector, allowing
presenters to interact directly with computer-based information by simply pressing
on the Board's large, touch-sensitive surface. With an interactive whiteboard,
it's easier for a presenter to maintain eye contact with her audience, because
she can work directly from the whiteboard without having to run back and forth
between the computer and screen.
Because participants can't easily take notes in a theater-style arrangement,
the SMART Board is ideal the presenter can save her presentation (along
with any notes she made during the meeting) to distribute to the audience.
For a really professional look, consider the Rear Projection SMART
Board. The rear-projection unit eliminates shadows from the projector and
ensures the audience can see the entire screen at all times.
A classroom-style setup uses long, narrow tables placed in front of rows of
chairs all facing the speaker. This setup is ideal for formal presentations
where the audience is expected to take notes. Using the tables, participants
can write notes, work on their laptops or use PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).
Again, the presenter can use either a screen or an interactive whiteboard
with his computer.
If presenters plan to use a variety of multimedia, a multimedia cabinet is
essential. SMART Expression is a mobile multimedia cabinet that holds a projector,
computer, printer, scanner, DVD player or any other peripheral you select.
Because the cabinet is pre-configured with all necessary cables and wiring,
a presenter simply wheels the cabinet into the room and plugs in a single
cable to access all the equipment. There's no pre-meeting setup or messy cabling
to deal with.
A banquet-style setup consists of several tables scattered throughout the
room. This setup is perfect for small breakout sessions or collaborative work
Because breakout groups need collaborative technology, the ideal setup would
have several interactive whiteboards and mobile multimedia cabinets around
the room. Standard whiteboards are also great for breakout groups because
participants can easily jot down their ideas during a brainstorming session
and then save them for future reference.
With Hawkeye, a whiteboard capture system, you can take a digitally enhanced
photo of your whiteboard notes and view them from a Web browser after the
meeting. Because participants don't have to take their own notes, they can
concentrate on generating great ideas.
A U-shaped arrangement is ideal if participants need to see the front of the
room and work in small groups. Because this style is conducive to both formal
presentations and collaborative work, the technology setup should be similar
to that used in a banquet-style arrangement.
Technology in the Smallest