Although many people work remotely, and their meetings will be conducted via video messaging software, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is by far the best option. You can get a lot more engagement, more direct responses, and if you’ve never met the people you’re talking to before, it’s the ideal way to get introduced. With that in mind, how can you set up a meeting room to achieve the best results? The room itself really does matter, and it’s wise to think carefully about it before you invite people for any important meetings. Read on to find out more.
Before you can decide anything else, the layout of the room needs to be considered. Once you know this, you can choose the right furniture and other details, but it all has to begin with the layout itself. The layout you choose will depend on what you want the people you are meeting with to do. Will they sit and watch a presentation made by a PowerPoint presentation agency like Buffalo 7, for example, or will they need to move around? A presentation is very different from a workshop, and the room will need to be laid out accordingly.
There are two main layouts to think about. The first is the boardroom-style layout. This is why you have a central table with chairs around it, and it’s the best option if you want everyone to talk together and have a discussion. It facilitates communication. The second option is the U-shape. Place three tables together to create a ‘U’. This is ideal for a meeting where you might need everyone to pay attention to a screen or dry erase board at the front of the room or where you might be giving a presentation yourself.
Once you know what layout you want to use, you’ll need to consider the furniture. It’s crucial to have enough chairs and table space for everyone who is going to attend, and it doesn’t look professional to have to try to find additional chairs or to make room for people (especially if social distancing is required) just before the meeting begins. It’s better to have too many chairs that can be stacked neatly in the corner than too few and have to delay the start of the meeting.
You should always choose ergonomic furniture. In this way, your delegates will be more comfortable and therefore more attentive. Ergonomic furniture is that which has been specially designed to work with the body, supporting it properly and limiting damage or discomfort.
In the past, a well-laid-out room and your own notes would probably have been enough – along with some refreshments – to run a successful meeting, but today things are different. Today there are many tools and pieces of equipment that will be required if you are to keep everyone’s attention and make the most of the time you have working together.
Some of these tools include a good headset if you’re carrying out a conference call, as well as the right phone equipment. You may also require large screens and a good sound system – ideally one that has been designed to be used in business meetings.
In many cases, it will depend on what you’re doing and how you intend to impart the information as to what you will need, which is why planning ahead is so important.
Make It Accessible
When searching for a conference room, attendees should be able to locate its name immediately in an easy-to-spot area with obvious signs or letters in front of the room. Physical cues (such as Braille) may be useful in addition to visual signals.
Consider the location of screens, whiteboards, and digital displays. While it may be tempting to just estimate where and how high to put them, keep in mind that not everyone has the same ability to reach these tools. Make sure the equipment in the room is easily accessible to everyone, including seated attendees.
Doors should be broad enough for anybody to pass through, including people in wheelchairs, and should be light enough to open and shut. Consider the space between the furniture that individuals (especially seated users) must move through, especially in smaller spaces. Even if additional tables and chairs could fit, that doesn’t mean they should.
To make sure that every meeting in the conference room goes smoothly, everyone can be given a basic set of rules or guidelines that explain how to use the space. These include information about the Wi-Fi network, when breaks will be, and a resource (like a phone number, email address, or even just a link to some reading) for general help. You could also include a list of health and safety rules if you think it would be helpful.