Dear Meeting Guru,

"Are there any guidelines for making a meeting room more conducive to planning sessions?"

Dave Roberts
Southlake, TX

Blessed Meeter,

Planning sessions involve a lot of brainstorming, note-taking and interacting. To hold an effective planning session, you’ll need to take all these elements into consideration when setting up your meeting room.

How people are seated and where technology is located in the room affects the way attendees communicate. Depending on how you would like to conduct the meeting, I have two suggestions for how to lay out the seating and technology in the room.

Option #1
Apply this first option if you plan to use an interactive whiteboard or a screen located at the front of the room to give a presentation or to record ideas and decisions.

Set up rectangular tables in a U-shape, with the U opening up to where the presenter and whiteboard are located. This setup keeps attendees in plain view of each other and encourages communication. The meeting leader, as well as any presentation or whiteboard tools, will be in plain view at all times, allowing attendees to easily refer back to decisions and notes.

Option #2
If you don’t plan to record notes or present information on a central screen, seat attendees around one long rectangular or circular table where everyone can see each other. Make sure there is nothing in the middle to obstruct anyone’s view. For this setup it is important to assign someone at the table to record meeting minutes so everyone is clear about decisions made and action items assigned.

As Henry Ford, pioneer of the assembly-line production method once said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.”

Any meeting room can bring people together, but a room laid out to suit your specific meeting purpose will help your team work better together and produce better results.

Until next time… may good meeting karma be with you.



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