Long Wall vs. Short Wall: Discover the Secret Stage Set-Up Trick that Inspires Audience Connection

Long Wall vs. Short Wall: Discover the Secret Stage Set-Up Trick that Inspires Audience Connection

Connect with Your Crowd Before You Ever Say a Word: Learn the Secrets

Hi, I'm Bari Baumgardner, founder of SAGE Event Management. Today we're going to talk about intimacy. That's right, intimacy. Specifically, when I say intimacy, what I mean is connection equals conversion. In our world we are always looking for higher conversions. You can get that with higher connection. It's really, really important in everything we do.

At SAGE, we help you take your event management strategy to the next level. Connections. Conversions. Powerful messaging. And we’re giving away access to a FREE series of three videos that share the secrets of event management.

Bruno Mars & the Power of Music Concert Venues

Let me give you a quick example of what I'm talking about. My husband and I are big, big fans of Bruno Mars, and in a recent Bruno Mars summer we actually went to three Bruno Mars concerts. Each time we worked our way up: different cities, different venues - but a concert venue is a concert venue. They're built to bring intimacy in. You can be in the very top tier, you can be all the way over around here, if you've been to a concert recently you know that they play to the whole amphitheater and they play to all different levels.

You could be on the ground, you could be mid-level, you could be in the back, there's lots of tricks that they have to make you feel close to the stage. But even with that we were willing over the course of the summer, as we flew to different cities, to work our way up. We started on the ground theater section floor in the back, then we went to the mid-section, and by the last concert we were in the second row.

Promote Togetherness: How to Transform a Hotel Ballroom Into an Intimate Space

We wanted that proximity, and know that most of your attendees to do. They want to feel close to you and you want that. Here's the thing: most of us don't have an audience large enough to be using a concert venue, at least not yet. Most of us are still using a hotel ballroom, and ballrooms are really built differently than a concert venue. And so you have to find ways to create the intimacy and make sure you're using that space to do its highest good for you, and for the experience, and for the intimacy with your audience.

Long Wall Strategy: Bring Your Audience In Closer

Let me show you exactly what I mean. Here is a standard ballroom, I'm going to draw it out here. At SAGE, we really like this metric of a short wall with a long wall. Here's how this can start to work for you. At SAGE, I would put my stage here - this is my stage. Let's assume that this in an entrance so people can come in here, or here. Generally I'm going to put my resource table here, which is where my team is going to be.

Then I'm going to build out the room, assuming that this is going to be theater or classroom, chevron style. Here's why I do that, I really want to create connection and intimacy to enhance my conversions. I know that the closer people feel to the stage the more likely they're going to feel connected to me, and it's all about them feeling connected to me if I'm the host, or for my client, for them to feel connected to our clients when they're the host.

Think about it. I can be in the front row or I can be in the back row, but either way I still feel pretty close to this stage, even if I'm over here I'm pretty close to the stage. Now, let's take another ... Actually we'll do it this way, let's take another view, same ballroom. Now I've put my stage here, my doors are here, my team table is here. This is team.

Short Wall Strategy: The Back of the Bus

Let's do the same chevron, this could be theater or classroom. We filled the room to capacity. Here's the thing, as the host I do not feel as close to my team, they're much farther away from me. They feel far away, and if I'm trying to make that connection with them it's a lot harder to do. Same thing for that audience member, if they're in the back row they really feel like they're in the back row. They're like at the back of the bus.

Here's the front, here's the back. I don't have the benefit of tiered seating like a concert does, or massive screens hanging all over the place like a concert does. If I'm back here, I feel really far away. If I'm over here, I feel really far away. This really hurts our intimacy and it really hurts our conversions. I can't prove it directly but promise you, as we've started to play with stage sets over the years, something I learned in my first year of doing this 14 years ago was it really mattered how I set the orientation of that room.

Ideally, I really like to have my team close, too. The closer the team can be to the host, the easier it is for that connection back and forth. It's not by accident that I put the team table in the middle so that as people are coming and going, they're always passing my team table. This orientation of a ballroom is really critical. It creates intimacy for you, it creates intimacy with your team, it creates intimacy with your attendees.

Create a Safe, Special Universe that You Control at Your Live Events

We're trying to create a safe container in that ballroom. We want everyone to feel when they walk in they come into a special universe that you control, that's super intimate, that's very safe. Where they can share things, where they can talk openly and where they feel really, really connected to you, to the team, and to each other. That is much easier to do if you have a controlled environment and you have controlled intimacy. The way you control that intimacy is by keep everybody close, set on that long wall.

Tell SAGE Your Experiences with the Long Wall vs. Short Wall

I'd love to hear from you. I would love for you to post or send me a quick email at events@poweredbysage and let me know, when you've gone to an event or a venue where you've sat with the host on the short wall or the host on the long wall, how has it shaped your experience? What have you enjoyed or noticed about that environment? How could you apply it to your own event management strategy? We'll be talking more about this in future videos. I hope you can put this to work for you right away. Go team go.

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