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Wow Your Guests With Unique Convention Layouts


Published on July 11, 2019

The meetings industry has come a long way since the world’s first official convention bureau was established in Detroit in 1896. Slide presentations given in darkened rooms set up with theatre-style seating is used less frequently today as groups continue to embrace the benefits of interactive sessions and smaller-group breakouts for more robust networking.

Our Director of Events, Alexandra Tanguay, has scores of ideas to help make your event as effective and memorable as possible. Some of the innovative options Alex enjoys exploring with meeting planners include the following:

Unique seating configurations:
  • Rather than the traditional arrangement of rows of chairs all facing in one direction, why not set up smaller groupings to create a completely different vibe? The mood is more informal and comfortable, encouraging participants to perhaps think and interact differently.
  • Campfire seating involves positioning clusters of chairs in a circle with a central table – or even an artificial fireplace – allowing for multiple pods of conversation within one larger space. This setup is ideal for breakout sessions.
  • Following a presentation, rather than having participants disperse to a different room or different areas of the venue, have ‘open breakout’ sessions right in the same room.
  • Consider fun, futuristic innovations such as cardboard ‘pop up’ meeting pods for breakout sessions.

People sitting in rest area of SAAS North
Marketplace-style presentations

audio technology now allows for multiple presentations to take place simultaneously in one room. Audience members participate by wearing headphones; each speaker has a microphone broadcasting on a different channel so participants can listen to the speaker of their choice. There’s no noise bleed and participants can easily switch channels to transfer to a different speaker’s presentation. This is an efficient way to use one larger room instead of booking multiple rooms and also minimizes disruptions and down time as participants don’t need to shift rooms to enjoy a range of presentations.

Lightning talks:

instead of one long keynote, have several shorter, motivational speakers. Sometimes called ‘quick Ted talks’, these inspiring presentations can be more memorable and impactful due to their brevity and succinctness of message. Need help finding inspiring speakers? Our Sales and Events team can provide recommendations!

Opening act:

consider starting your event with a bang! Having an entertainer – perhaps a comedian, energetic singer or even a magician – sets the day off on an invigorating tone, creating group cohesion as it draws the audience together to enjoy a spectacle.

Unique room options:

at Shaw Centre, our rooms vary in size throughout the building; some include airwalls so they can be subdivided for further flexibility. Our clients often enjoy booking a foyer as opposed to (or in addition to) an enclosed room to allow them to create sessions with a more open, relaxed atmosphere.

Alex and her team of event planners take enormous pride in being innovative, flexible and always ready to help make each client’s vision a reality. We also encourage you to take advantage of our partners’ expertise; from furnishings to décor to audio-visual to teambuilding event ideas, our extensive network of suppliers can be part of your creative team. Just ask and we’ll be delighted to share our local contacts and help you craft event solutions that will truly impress your delegates.