Have you ever been excited to attend an event, session or movie only to find, once you get there, the auditorium is absolutely freezing, and your jacket is in the car? Have you tried to take notes during a session in that same auditorium only to find it is so dark the screen on your tablet is illuminating your entire seating section?
One goal of an event planner is to provide a distraction-free environment. There are many factors that play into designing a comfortable auditorium setting for your general sessions. Temperature, lighting, sound and much more all combine to create a session people remember for the content or a session people remember because of the distractions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your large-group gatherings:
- Temperature – An empty room may feel cold, but when you fill it with people, it can heat up quickly. Don’t be too hasty to ask for a temperature adjustment because one or two people are cold when they arrive. If you think the temperature needs to be changed, discuss concerns with the staff of the venue. Their experiences and history in that venue should carry a lot of weight – don’t discount their judgment.
- Sound – Volume is measured in decibels, and there are standards to go by when it comes to what is too loud for your auditorium space. You can download decibel meters on your computer or smartphone. The conference location should have an actual decibel meter to more accurately measure levels. Never be afraid to ask the venue staff to check the decibel range and adjust accordingly.
- Lighting – While it is perfectly acceptable to lower the lights during worship times, remember to raise the lights during a speaking session so guests can follow along in their Bibles/conference guides and be able to take notes.
- Seating – Know the capacity of your room and the best way to arrange your seating. Some venues have permanent seating, while others allow for a customizable set-up. Regardless of the way you arrange your seats, make sure guests are free from obstructions such as video-cameras or decorations that might hinder their view.
It’s a given – you can never please everyone. However, by being proactive in planning these aspects of a general session, you can successfully eliminate a number of complaints. There will always be a few who are too hot or too cold. There will always be some who say the sound is too loud or too soft. Listen to feedback and make adjustments if it is a recurring theme among participants.