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How to Create Meeting Rooms

Naturally, securing a meeting with a client is bound to bring you feelings of excitement. However, once the booking is in the diary, your attention must turn to where exactly you will hold the meeting. You might already have various spaces in which meetings could be held.

Nonetheless, not all of those spaces might be purpose-built meeting rooms. If, for example, you are considering turning one of your working areas into a makeshift meeting room, this could bode poorly for the meeting itself, considering how importantly you need to impress the client.

Whether, in the meeting room, the client finds their creativity firing on all cylinders or instead struggles in the uncomfortable and stuffy atmosphere depends very much on how you prepare the room. If you’d like to create a meeting room from scratch, here’s what you need to do.

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How big should the room be?

You might have a good idea of how much space you’d like to set aside for the meeting room, perhaps based on the number of people you expect will typically attend per meeting there.

It shouldn’t be just a matter of allocating as much space as you can get, “just in case”. As implied in a Personal Branding Blog article posted on the Business 2 Community site, an overly large room can still discomfort a client; they may not quite feel as though they are in a safe, close-knit group.

Therefore, after determining the likely average attendance figures, decide on room dimensions that will suit, and make sure you source a table proportionate to the room’s size.

What seating layout – or layouts – do you anticipate using?

The answer to this question should also influence what type of room you choose. That’s because different seating plans can be appropriate for rooms of different types. Hence, if there’s a particular plan you expect to use especially often, you should create a room that will be “just right” for it.

If you expect many of the meetings to see a speaker leading a discussion, you could be attracted to the U-shaped floor plan, where tables and seating are laid out in the shape of a “U”, with the open part at one end of the room, from where the speaker will direct proceedings.

Alternatively, you could see sense in slightly adjusting this layout by closing off the fourth side, resulting in tables and chairs arranged in a complete square or rectangle. This layout, called a “hollow square” layout, is good for fostering interactions between attendees.

While a U-shaped plan would be apt for a rectangle-shaped room, you could make the most of a hollow square plan in a mid-sized room, says The Balance Small Business. Of course, there are many other possible layouts beside these, including the Apprentice-style boardroom plan, so carefully consider which of them your business might favour most often.

Where should the room be located?

You might be not making a whole new room as much as repurposing an existing one – in which case, choosing the right place for that room could be straightforward, as your options might be limited. Naturally, you could have more freedom if you are open to building work being involved.

Whatever the exact situation, you should aim for that room to be in as distraction-free an environment as possible. Therefore, while it would be beneficial for that room to be close to the CEO’s office, you shouldn’t position it near the main lobby or – shudder – a construction site.

If you’re struggling to find what seems to be a sufficiently quiet setting, you do have another option: soundproofing the meeting room. A professional can carry out that task for you.

Opt for suitable levels of brightness and lightness

What colour will the room be? If you want relatively relaxed and agreeable clients, blue could help to bring about the right mood. Red, on the other hand, could be – ahem – like a red rag to a bull, potentially making your clients more argumentative.

If you’re struggling to settle on the right colour, consider your firm’s brand and image. The colours of your company’s branding might already have been carefully chosen to solicit the right emotional responses in potential clients – in which case, it would make sense to start with those hues.

The exact colour of your room could, on the day, be affected by the lighting – another factor to which you should pay close attention. While some natural illumination is fine, make sure you conceal your windows with blinds and shades to prevent a potentially distracting glare.

Such a glare wouldn’t leave a good impression on clients, and neither would excessively hot bulbs. Here are two good rules of thumb: use an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) for large meetings, and endeavour to minimise overhead lighting if you can’t quite avoid it altogether.

What technology will you need?

Without the right technology, your meeting room could often feel essentially like a giant, glorified cardboard box: large, yes, but not of immediate practical use. While laptops and mobile devices are obvious pieces of technology to include in meeting rooms, you should remind yourself exactly how you would like to use the room you intend to create.

Let’s assume, for example, that you seek to regularly resort to in-room video conferencing, as you might do in a bid to converse with clients who can’t always be right there in the room with you. Business 2 Community contributor William MacDonald warns that devices you might have already planned to place in the room could fall short of suitability for this type of video conferencing.

In justifying this point, MacDonald explains: “The unenviable scene of several people huddled around a laptop can make a frustrating and awkward experience.” He also warns that some video conferencing and meeting solutions can come with friction-inducing compatibility wrinkles.

Whatever technology you do decide you need, our office design experts can work on, for your benefit, a meeting room in the form of a multi-purpose tech hub.