Now that you’ve chosen your seating arrangement, it’s time to decide: should you have assigned seats? This, of course, depends on the type of event, but more often than not, you should take the extra time to create a seating chart.
The Science Behind It
Columbia University conducted a study on the behaviors of people at mixers. Their goal was to discover if a minimally structured social event is conducive to attendants broadening their social circle. However, results demonstrated that “guests did not mix as much as might be expected…they were much more likely to encounter their pre-mixer friends, even though they overwhelmingly stated before the event that their goal was to meet new people.”
Outside of Science: Strategy
Although science proves that assigned seating is preferable, benefits go beyond science! By assigning seats, you’re able to strategically plan where people will be sitting. You can connect people in the name of business, or you can make sure that someone coming alone is sitting at a kind, outgoing table. If there’s any sort of bad blood between guests, assigned seating is also an excellent way to prevent unnecessary drama; seat those guests on opposite sides of the room.
Prevent Social Anxiety
Many people worry that by assigning seats, guests will interpret an otherwise relaxed event as rigid and formal. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth — open seating is chaotic and frustrating for your guests. Consider the social anxiety you may cause guests when they walk in and discover they now have to worry about being removed from their group, finding a seat amongst familiar faces (even if their goal is to mingle), and sitting at a table outside of their age group.
No One is Trapped
A common misconception is that if you assign seats, guests will feel obligated to sit there all night long. However, once the formal portion of the evening is over, whether that’s dinner, an auction, or a presentation, your guests will move about the room.
“Is This Seat Taken?”
It’s an awkward experience to have guests wandering around, desperately hunting for an available seat. It’s awkward for the host; it’s awkward for your wandering guests; it’s awkward for your seated guests if they have to offer to split up their own party to satisfy another. This is horrible for you as the planner, as angry groups of people — who did not mean to linger for so long in the lobby — rush up to you and demand you assist them in the search for a seat.
Groups of People
If you have invited a group of people to your event, no matter if it’s a business group or a family, it will be uncomfortable to watch them rush around and try to save a group of seats together — and it will be worse to watch their frustration if they can’t find those seats. This is especially true if you have planned an event where children are invited because it’s crucial that they are able to sit with their parents.
Although it takes extra time and effort create a seating chart, it will be worth it! Assigned seating is just another way to save yourself day-of event headaches and stress. To learn more about how we can help you amidst planning Florida corporate events, contact us here or at 407-955-4949.