There is an inherent contradiction in having the senior leadership of an organization stand on a 2-foot high stage at the front of the ballroom and try to convince the audience that when it comes to the current initiative the team is undertaking, “We are all in this together.”
Why, then, are you up there, and we’re down here?
When the people in the room are the senior leaders, they are all in this together and there is a way for the setting to support that idea.
Do not put a stage in the room.
Without a stage, there is no front or back of the room. It levels the playing field.
Seat the participants six to a table at 60” rounds.
The table size is small enough to allow for meaningful dialogue across the table with everyone participating.
Assign seating (randomly).
As participants enter the room, have them pick a card from a box and sit at the designated table. This keeps the crowd who came together from congregating at a single table and missing out on the opportunity to meet colleagues and learn new perspectives.
Get creative! The card can have a number, a client logo, a word or phrase that describes a company value, a product or service offered by the company or a motivational quote or song title suggested by the participants in a pre-event survey.
There is no head table.
Assign each member of the leadership team to a different table. What they can learn and what they can share when seated among the participants is valuable in successfully moving initiatives forward.
Stand and deliver.
Have speakers present from the place where they are seated.
Add swivel chairs to your furniture requirements.
This enables the audience to turn and face the presenter no matter where they are in the room.
Surround the audience with the content.
Place screens or monitors in the four corners of the space so that no matter which way the audience is facing the can see the content being presented.
Insist that audience members move.
Any audience member that wants to ask a question has to get up and move to a microphone so everyone can hear. You only have to remind the first one or two questioners before it becomes habit.