Round tables seating eight to ten persons are prescribed for luncheons and banquets, and the elevated head table is eliminated. Announcements and speeches (if any) are presented from an elevated free standing podium using a public address system.
The traditional straight line elevated head table is obsolete. The dignitaries are on involuntary display and they are miserable with no one with whom they can converse. The Chair cannot resist the temptation to introduce all of the officers and dignitaries in the head table line up. When everyone is seated in a circle, they enjoy each other and the event and they are grateful to be themselves.
The CNS touch is to scatter the officials and official guests at tables around the room to interact with members at large. Only the Chairman's table is reserved for the principal speaker and a few designated members.
The best system is to designate seating for everyone. This plan breaks up the individual cliques and builds the identify of the organization. A computer makes this task easier to accomplish, but a table map and seat assignment ticket (or place card) are necessary. This is the principle of diplomatic seating.
At the first meeting of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies in Brussels over a thousand neurosurgeons and guests were present at a banquet. Each person was assigned a designated place at a table seating 24 persons. Husbands and spouses were separated and seated within conversation range was someone who spoke your own language. This complex seating plan was accomplished manually without the assistance of a computer.
The round table provokes the primitive memory of sitting around a campfire in safety and together. This arrangement is the campfire principle.