Whether it’s an informal staff meeting or a crucial client presentation, where you choose to hold these discussions has an effect on how the meeting goes. The right meeting space encourages candid discussion, creativity, and smooth transitions between all of your agenda items. The wrong space can create an uncomfortable atmosphere physically or mentally for all involved.
Make your space work for you by looking for the characteristics of an effective meeting room.
Consider the Type of Meeting You’re Planning
Determine how many people you’ll have, the atmosphere you want to create, and what the purpose of the meeting is. Is it a strategy session with your executive team in the boardroom? A pitch to that coveted prospective client? Or is it simply a discussion with your team about low cost marketing options for your business?
By consciously thinking about these details instead of glossing over them in passing, you’ll be more equipped to set the stage for your meeting and make decisions about the following areas.
The Right Seating Arrangement
If you know what the meeting attendees will be doing, you’ll already know how to configure the seating arrangement.
Small group discussions call for round tables or circles of chairs, not rows of seats. A sales presentation where prospects will be evaluating your solution might require dining tables for a lunch and learn or simply an auditorium--not a long boardroom table.
Planning the room setup will encourage your attendees to engage with your event in the way you want them to by making it easy for them to do so.
A Room With Windows
Studies have shown that natural sunlight encourages better productivity. Take advantage of this natural boost by choosing a space with windows and keep everyone’s mind focused on the task at hand. It doesn’t hurt that this is a free and easy way to make your meetings more effective!
Being in a cramped space will put a damper on the mission of your meeting faster than anything else. Err on the side of caution and get a room a little bit bigger than what you think you’ll need just to make sure everyone has all the personal space they need.
With enough room to be comfortable, your attendees will keep their minds focused on the matter at hand instead of being distracted by bumping elbows with the person next to them.
Check ahead of time to ensure that the technology you need to hold your meeting is included in the space.
Whether it’s a projector for a presentation, microphones, or videoconferencing equipment, it’s also a good idea to arrive early enough to test the technology yourself so that you can let the venue or office space management know that the issues need to be fixed. Nothing else will take away momentum and focus like technology that has to be fixed in the middle of your meeting.
Having a clear vision for what your meeting will accomplish will guide you toward planning these aspects of your meeting space. Taking care of seating, atmosphere, space and technology ahead of time is sure to contribute to an efficient meeting that helps you and your attendees accomplish your goals smoothly and easily.
About the Author: Jeff Reinstein is the Chief Executive Office of Premier Business Centers. He has helped the company grow from 9 center locations to more than 70 since he first joined the team in 2002.