What type of meeting rooms will suit your company?

Imagine a meeting room with high-backed leather chairs around a large conference table of polished teak, concealed lights beaming down from the overhead panels, dark blinds over the windows, a refreshments counter with delicate, floral chinaware and a piece of classic artwork on one wall.

Now imagine a room with cotton curtains, windows with wooden shutters that open outwards, coloured lampshades suspended from the ceiling, a potted plant of mogara at the entrance, many small tables and chairs that can be moved around the room and posters with quirky quotes on the walls.

One meeting room is quintessentially formal while the other markedly casual. Neither is better or worse. The two kinds of spaces simply serve different purposes for different kinds of people.

Bottom line – you want a meeting room that is effective i.e. a high-energy, time-efficient, action-oriented, morale-boosting interaction that fosters information dissemination and collaboration between people in a way that the collective advances company goals. What transpires in meetings has consequences beyond the meeting room. For this reason, the design of meeting rooms must be driven by intended outcomes.

Every company espouses a culture that its physical spaces must reflect and reinforce. The choice of meeting room is governed by factors such as industry norms, the attendee group, the interpersonal dynamic between attendees, the agenda for the meeting etc.

Here is a comparison of formal and casual meeting rooms:

An investment banker wouldn’t consider a meeting room with cane chairs and durries an ideal setting to meet with clients. But the investment banker could consider calling an internal meeting for team building in a casual meeting room. An graphic animator may be out of her element when asked to visualise storyboards in a formal conference room. But a meeting for the animator to negotiate a contract with a large production house may be most apt across a conference table in a formal meeting room.

Know your company. Know your people. Know your industry. Know your clients and your partners. Know what you want to achieve with these. Then pick the kind of meeting room that will support you in moving to your goal.

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