Briefly explain when it is best to use each of the following conference seating plans:

Theater style

It occurs where the seats or chairs in rows facing a stage area, head table, or speaker (with no conference table)

This is the most efficient set-up when the attendees will act as an audience. This set-up is not recommended for food events of if note taking is required.

U shape style

It is a series of conference tables set in the shape of the letter U, with Chairs around the outside. This layout style is often used for board of directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups where there is a speaker, audio-visual presentation or other focal point.

Classroom style

It occurs when the rows of conference tables with chairs facing the front of a room (and usually a speaker), providing writing spice for each person.

This room set-up is ideal for note taking, meetings requiring multiple handouts or reference materials, or other tools such as laptop computers. This is the most comfortable set-up for long sessions and allows refreshments to be placed .within reach of each attendee.

Boardroom style

It comprises of a rectangular or oval table set up with chairs around all sides and ends.

This table layout is often used for board of directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups.


Meetings can be useful means of group communication

Explain the procedure observed to ensure the success of a meeting

  • Set the ground rules. These agreements for participant behaviour will make meetings more efficient and effective. They should be discussed by the group and revisited periodically. Some ground rules are:
  • Everyone has equal rights and can participate.
  • The will of the majority is carried out.
  • The minority will be heard.
  • Only one topic will be considered at a time
  • Decision-making will be done fairly and impartially.
  • Use a warm-up activity. As people come together, they should move their thinking from being individuals to being part of a group. Use of an ice-breaker activity can help build the team
  • Make introductions. Welcome participants and ensure everyone knows everyone else, especially any newcomers.
  • Summarize the purpose of the meeting and the timelines for discussions. It can be useful to write the agenda and points about the issues on a blackboard or large piece of posted paper. This helps participants keep track of the discussion.
  • Use a speakers list. Make sure everyone who wants to speak is given the opportunity before anyone receives a second opportunity.
  • Encourage input from all participants. Sometimes a few participants dominate the discussion because they are more comfortable speaking in a group or are more passionate about’ the topic, The chairperson must ensure there is input from everyone and should try to draw quiet people into the discussion.
  • Keep the discussion focused on the topic. Avoid topic drift, when participants add comments that are irrelevant to the agenda. The comments are usually interesting, but if they are pursued, the conversation drifts further from the objective.
  • Use a “Parking Lot.” When unrelated issues are raised, keep track of them on the flipchart or blackboard, visible to everyone. Participants will realize that these ideas and concerns will not be lost and can be considered at the appropriate time or put on the agenda for the next meeting.
  • Explain acronyms. Ensure short forms or initials are explained so that everyone is aware of what is being discussed.
  • Be aware of non-verbal behaviour. Body language can provide important clues as to the need for further discussion and/or the involvement and satisfaction of members. Respond to it accordingly.
  • Assess when the debate has run its course. The chairperson should summarize the discussion and ask for a vote or expression of consensus.
  • Use an “Action Sheet.” Record the actions required, who is responsible and timelines for each action. The Action Sheet captures meeting decisions and reminds people to follow through on their commitments.
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