• Lauralee Shapiro

Learn The Lingo – Part 1 of 3

Here are some technical terms used by the meetings industry.

  1. Theatre set – meeting room configuration with rows of chairs, similar to a movie theatre.

  2. Classroom / School room – this meeting room set up has rectangular shaped tables either 6’ or 8’ in length and either 18” or 24” wide.  The terms are interchangeable.  It is important to ask the hotel what kind of tables they use if comfort is a concern for your attendees.  Putting 3 people per table is more comfortable with an 8’ table than a 6’ table.  Hotels will use the expression 2 per 6’ or 3 per 8’.

  3. Chevron – this meeting room configuration gets it’s name from the chevron shape you may see on highways (keep back two chevrons).  They are like a wide “V”.  This set up works well if you have a speaker or audio-visual that you want everyone to see.  The views tend to be less obstructive with Chevron but it takes more space in the meeting room so hotels sometimes prefer to use school room to chevron.

  4. Rounds – This is a circular table and can be either a 60” or a 72” circumference.  A hotel will seat 10 at a 60” round and 12 at a 72” round.  This is why it is again important to ask the hotel what size tables they use or specify on your RFP if you want rounds of 8, rounds of 10 or rounds of 12.  Rounds are generally used for meal functions but can also work for break out session if you need the guests to interact and have a discussion with a large writing surface.

  5. Crescent rounds – This is generally used for general sessions or break out rooms.  Crescent rounds can be half of a “rounds” setting but some hotels do a bit more.  For example, if it is a round of 10, they may do a crescent round of 6 as opposed to 5.  You should specify how many you want at the table if this is the set up you want to use.  Hotels really do not like this set up as it takes up twice the amount of space since they are only seating 50% of the table.  If you need to use this set up, I suggest having the room double for your meals; this will win you points with the hotel for not taking too much space.

  6. Conference / Board Meeting / Imperial – these three terms all mean the same thing.  It is a set up that has everyone at one large table, usually rectangular in shape.  It may be a permanent table in an executive type board room (with private restroom and anterior room for coffee set up) or it could be created using the school room table.  I don’t recommend using this set for more than 25 or so people.  After that, the length of the table is getting so long that they can’t effectively communicate from one end of the table to the other.

  7. U-shape / Hollow Square – To get these set up, the hotel will use the 6’ or 8’ school room tables and create a “U” shape or add a fourth side to it and make it a hollow square.  You can do a larger group with this set than with a conference table but keep in mind that these set ups use a lot of space compared to doing 3 per 6’ or theater and hotels are always trying to maximize their space.

  8. Flow – when you have a meal function that requires no seating, such as a coffee break, it is on a “flow” basis.  Even though a reception may be on a flow basis, you can still have “high top” tables scattered. These are round tables that are smaller than a dinner table and much higher, perfect size and height for putting down a glass of wine while you eat some hors D’oeuvres.

  9. Island – if you have a trade show with booths, an island is the booth location that is in the middle of the room.  Generally, an island booth is made up of 4 or more booths together.  Booths are usually 10’ X 10’ or 8’ X 10’, so an island booth can be 40’ X 40’ or larger. Depending on the size of the trade show, you may have several “island” booths.

  10. Pipe and Drape – if your trade show is made up of booths, you will need an exposition company to provide you with pipe and drape. This is a frame that has fabric similar to drapes hanging on it to separate one booth from another.  There are a variety of styles and price points for pipe and draping.

  11. Table top – some trade shows have a much simpler set up, no booths with pipe and drape.  A table top exhibit is using a rectangle shape table, either 6’ or 8’ and will usually have a couple of chairs behind it.

  12. Skirting – if you have table tops for your trade show, the front and sides of the table will have fabric attached at the top and hangs down to the floor.  This is called skirting.  The skirting can be provided by a production company or the host hotel.

  13. Gobo lights – this is a colored gel that fits over a spotlight and is used to project a company logo, phrase or shape on a flat surface.  For example, at the ConferenceDirect annual partners meeting, the host hotel, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, had a gobo light set up in the driveway area and projected the message “welcome ConferenceDirect” on the main entrance to the hotel.  What a great first impression upon arrival to the hotel!

  14. Green room – if you have entertainment or a key-note speaker, they will likely ask for a room close to the location they are to perform or speak. This is called the green room.  In their “rider”, part of their contract, you will see a list of” must haves” like drinks, snacks etc. that must be placed in the green room for them and their staff.

  15. Voice of God – When you sit in a general session and you hear a voice but don’t see anyone, this is known as the voice of god. It is usually your audio-visual technician.  They will make announcements like “please take your seats, we will begin in five minutes” or “ladies and gentlemen, your CEO, Ms. Lauralee Shapiro”.


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