Event Venues: Green Room Selection and Set-up

Green RoomThe term "green room" originated in the theater as a waiting room with green walls for actors. An event  "green room" is a behind-the-scenes area for event staff at trade shows, conferences and corporate events. Well-functioning green rooms can make the day less stressful for event planners and their teams by providing a secluded oasis (with snacks) away from the show's hustle and bustle. 

Sometimes, however, it can be challenging to convince clients of the need for a green room. Stress the benefits of a private area for the event team to:

  • plan
  • provide orientation and training
  • change
  • communicate quickly and easily
  • resolve issues out of earshot from attendees and participants
  • access restrooms without adding to line-ups
  • strategize to prevent or iron out logistical challenges
  • have lunch and refreshments in privacy without nibbling in front of guests, which may convey a less-than-professional image. (We'll focus on crew meals next week.)

When location scouting:

  • pick a room that is accessible through an entrance that is separate from the one to be used by participants. (If staff, entertainers and guests all use the same entrance, this will increase congestion.) For the same reason, there should also be a couple of washrooms nearby for dedicated for staff use.
  • ensure that the room is warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer. Adequate ventilation is a must. Windows are a plus.
  • be sure to select a room near a kitchenette or one with a microwave and refrigerator.

The dressing rooms for wedding parties at some event venues are perfect for green rooms. One of my favorite venues has a "bridal suite" with a separate entrance and a large washroom.

To set up your green room:

  • always have a check-in and sign-out table.
  • be sure to have space for coats, bags, and laptop cases.
  • use piping and draping to create a private behind-the-scenes area for event staff.

For small to medium events, green rooms often double as mission control. It really doesn't take much to create 3 distinct zones for meetings, private discussions and relaxation (including food and beverages). A few chairs in a corner of a room, sectioned off by dividers or coat racks can ensure privacy. A long table or two is sufficient for most meetings. A couch or two and enough comfortable chairs for staff on breaks can create a cozy area for relaxation.

Finishing touches:

  • Post the event master schedule in a couple of places. Have extra copies of all briefing packages handy. Bring a small ink jet printer in case you need to print something in a pinch.
  • To create an inviting environment, ask the hotel to move in some plants and provide a couple of cushions blankets. Bring a few magazines. One thing I have learned from hotels in Asia and outdoor event venues in the Middle East is that dividers, carpets and cushions can transform any environment. (In Canada, I have found that some suppliers will give a significant discount for Persian rug rental in exchange for an ad in the event program.)
  • Don't forget the tech: Remind staff to bring their IPods.
  • Pamper your attendees; cooling eye-masks and foot massagers are nice touches.

With a little bit of imagination and a lot of planning, event and conference planners can create a great green room without breaking a client's budget.

Photo Credit: camknows (Green Room in Which Matthew McConaughey was spotted)

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