You’ll want to think about how to utilize the space outside of your main stage area, so that your guests can also have a comfortable (and even stimulating) experience when they’re not in their seat.
Social spaces for your event
Here are some things to consider when designing the space that exists outside of the main stage:
Create a layout of the space
Create a blueprint for your event space and label what goes where, including sponsor spaces, tech crews, restrooms, speaker prep, and where guests will eat and mingle in between sessions.
Prioritize “foot traffic”
You want your guests to be able to easily navigate the social areas without bumping into each other. When outlining your space, make sure you leave ample room for people to walk to and from the bathroom, form a line for coffee, and get back into the main stage room. Create signs directing people where to go, and use barriers or rope line dividers if needed. (Your volunteers should also be available to direct your guests from room to room, which we’ll get into later in the guide.)
Design the space
Establish a partnership with a local furniture rental company — nice furniture is a simple way to spruce up a space. Is the space mostly empty, or is it the kind of venue that already has a lot of personality? Make sure whatever signage you create is consistent with the design/color scheme of your logo and/or theme.
Special activity areas
Designate the spaces outside the stage area for other experiences at your event. In the past, TEDx events have included special areas, such as:
An area for attendees to try out new software, gadgets, technologies and other products. This is also a great place to creatively integrate your sponsors/partners.
Consider setting up a dedicated bloggers’ area, outside of the main stage, with desks, chairs and power outlets. (Laptops inside the auditorium can be a big distraction.)
If you anticipate an overflow of people, you can consider setting up viewing monitors outside of the main stage.
One great way to highlight your speakers is to have a visual and interactive exhibit that showcases your speakers’ ideas and works. Have a mini-gallery of an artist’s work, or display one of your speaker’s inventions in the exhibit for guests to try out.
Next: Event production
- Get new furniture for your space — establish a sponsorship with a furniture rental company to get it donated or subsidized.
- Sponsors want to engage authentically with your audience, and social spaces are an ideal space for them to do so through innovation labs and editorial exhibits.