Meetings 411: 6 Tips for Quick Set-up

Meeting RoomIf it seems that set-up time is shrinking, you're not imagining it. Whether you're planning off-site or onsite meetings, space is often at a premium.

With back-to-back meetings booked at popular venues, unless a client is willing to pay to to ensure early access to meeting rooms, set-up is sometimes done late in the evening or early in the morning. 

Under these scenarios, set-up must be fast and efficient. Here are 6 tips for quick and easy set-up.

  1. Color code everything.
    Use a different color for the participant supplies for each table. For large groups, use one color per section of the room.
  2. Pack supplies for each participant table together in the same plastic bin, case or tote.
    Clear bins are best so that event staff can see what's inside. Color coding the supplies will quickly identify which supplies belong on which tables. If groups have been pre-organized into teams, envelopes with name tags and masking tape can be placed in the bins. You can pack supplies for about 4 tables in a small bin and 6 tables in a large bin. 
  3. Pencil CasesOrganize participant supplies like pens, pencils, Post-it notes, Post-it flags, Mac-Tac, markers, and highlighters in pencil cases.
    In this way, they can quickly be placed on participant tables.

    Select plastic or cloth pencil cases. (Cloth ones are unbreakable and lighter and they take up less space.)
  4. For handouts, go paperless or place them in duo tangs with clear plastic covers.
    Use colored covers (or clear covers and make the 1st page of each handout in the color scheme for the participant tables).
  5. Pack all tabletop energizers in individual "snack packs" lunch bags, again one bag per table.
    Zippered lunch bags are best so that the energizers don't fall out.

    Depending on the learning styles of participants, include Lego, Klixx, Snafooz cube puzzles, Tangles, gum, small chess sets for breaks, stress balls, Slinkies, Kooshes, wooden hand massagers, wands, etc.
  1. Prepare detailed floorplans for hotel staff and AV technicians  as well as tablescape to make it easy for event staff to quickly place items on participant tables.
    I have facilitated meetings and training sessions in countries where the set-up staff does not speak English and based on highly visual floorplans and tablescapes, set-up has been perfect.


Be sure to have a couple of tables so that speakers and suppliers can place their supplies.

You can pick up supplies at Staples, Walmart, or online at Amazon or eBay. Back-to-school season is the best time to replenish supplies and save.

For more set-up tips, also read Unique Set-up Ideas for Corporate Events Set-up for Attendee Engagement and  Designing Flexible Meeting Rooms for Interactive Meetings.

Photo Credits: Eli Sagor, Winnable, Duotang, Klixx, Snafooz

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