Ruth Haag’s article “The Shape of the Conference Table Determines Success or Failure” applies the same principles to conference table design. Haag examines different conference table shapes and what kind of behaviors they encourage in attendees. Some of her examples:
- Round conference tables encourage free discussion and discourage leadership. Round tables are therefore bad for an unruly group, or for a conference requiring strict organizational rules.
- Long, thin conference tables (such as formed by stringing together several small tables) encourage cliques and discourage unity, by making it hard for the people at one end of the table to see the people at the other end.
- U-shaped tables encourage hostility by placing attendees so far apart that they do not feel a connection with each other. The U-shape also encourages the attendees to ignore the leader because they are not looking directly at him/her.