chairs inside a meeting room

What Makes a Good Meeting Room?

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A meeting room is a space designed for people to come together for discussions. These discussions may involve the exchange of ideas for projects, disclosure of updates, clarification of business matters and anything that has to do with business processes. Some meeting rooms may even be versatile enough to host small, intimate events. Ultimately, the corporate space is meant for official activities.

Since meeting rooms carry with them such essential purposes, choosing one becomes critical to the success of your business.

What is the Ideal Kind of Room for a Meeting?

If your company operates virtually and meetings sometimes need to be done in person, you’re likely shopping around for conference rooms in your city. Layout and amenities are both crucial factors to considering a meeting space. But so is location.

Best location for everyone attending

Well-planned meetings ensure everyone will be able to come. So to find the ideal kind of meeting room, it must be easy for participants to reach.

Will the space be accessible by public transportation? Is the building where it’s in easy to locate? How is traffic heading to the location?

If the meeting space is only accessible by car, in a building that has no signage or is situated in a hectic street known for traffic jams — expect a low turnout. Or expect people to come in late. When you’re renting a conference or meeting room by the hour, the cost will add up.

Beyond the unnecessary expense, poor attendance also means inefficient meetings.

Optimized for meetings and teleconferences

Environment is key to successful meetings. From one-on-one discussions to department meetings, the type of meeting you’re organizing must be doable in the space. It must ensure effective communication, easy collaboration and consistent productivity.

What should you look for in a space optimized for meetings and teleconferences?

  • Good lighting – which allows the camera to capture accurate colors and contrast
  • Neutral colors – contrasting colors, bold patterns distract from the agenda at hand
  • Perfect room acoustics – avoid meeting rooms with reflective surfaces, which compromise sound quality
  • Privacy – if you hold a lot of confidential meetings, your conference room must have privacy screens on windows or frosting

Adequate space for your team

The conference or meeting room you pick should be adequate for the size of your team. Determine if the space is comfortable for full seating and it allows enough room between the backs of chairs and the wall.

Will people be able to get out of their seats and walk without bumping into anyone else? On the flip side, is there too much space that prevents efficient communication among participants?

So before booking a big or small conference room, figure out the number of people in your meetings.

If you can afford to have more room in your meeting room, look for spaces with high ceilings. It turns out, greater vertical space encourages abstract thinking or detail-specific thought. Conversely, low ceilings confine thought processes, limiting creativity.

The right combination of furniture for the meeting

large wooden table in the meeting room
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

The shape and size of the conference tables matter to how your meetings will go. It’s not just about how the table will fit into the room; it’s also about making sure it allows creativity to flow. So what’s a good shape?

Round? Rectangular? Square? A round table is good to communicate everyone’s on equal footing; much like King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, the circular conference table establishes equal status. But if your meetings need decisive action or teams require guidance from a leader to steer the proceedings, a rectangular table will deliver better results.

What if you have an office? How do you build out an ideal meeting room for communication, collaboration and productivity?

Building Your In-Office Meeting Room

Apply the same sort of features you’ll see in meeting or conference rooms rented out by services or hotels. When you’re looking leasing an office, make sure the property allows you to implement these ideas.

Location must ensure privacy and focus

Your meeting room will be closed off, but it must still be situated in an area in your office that isn’t subjected to noise or passing foot traffic.

Design according to the types of meetings

Most meetings in offices are committee-type: about a dozen or so people with one leader guiding the proceedings. So the room will likely be a typical conference room size, with enough square footage for other features, from video conferencing equipment to a sideboard and other storage furniture.

But if your organization usually has huddles or one-on-one discussions, it may be a good idea to dedicate a group of smaller rooms fit for smaller or subteams. They could be the size of a bigger phone booth, equipped with video conference solutions.

Name these smaller meeting rooms according to your brand. Each room name must be consistent with the personality of your organization; names not only make it easy for people to book and find the rooms, but they may also energize people to use them more.

Think carefully about the furniture

Unless your business is positioned in the luxury market, your office furniture doesn’t have to be posh; good quality furniture for your office doesn’t have to be pricey. You can even find good furniture deals online, allowing you to manage your costs without sacrificing on quality.

When picking your chairs, cabinets and other furniture, think about how they’ll complement the overall look of your office. What clients and employees see from the moment they step into the reception of the office must feel fluid throughout the space, and that includes the conference room.

Ensure an all-inclusive design

An all-inclusive office is designed for people with or without disabilities. Universal design or inclusive design goes beyond ensuring wheelchair access. It also means:

  • Environmental controls for people sensitive to light, sound and temperature
  • Light switches that do not need dexterity for operation
  • Easy-to-read, large print signs
  • Task lighting options

Some of the more capable organizations even design their offices for employees diagnosed with ADHD and mental health disorders.

Meeting rooms help teams come together for a common goal. It could be to brainstorm for new products or services, to develop strategies against a crisis, or work on a new project. Whatever the purpose is for your meeting, the right space ensures a good flow of communication, easy collaboration and productivity.

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