I can’t begin to tell you the amount of conversations I have had over the years about meeting rooms. In practically every organisation I have worked in meeting rooms are like gold dust. If the office has meeting space, the booking system never completely works and assistants are always tasked with finding last minute rooms, offices or any space that provides a little privacy. If the organisation does not have meeting space then most assistants are asked to book external meeting rooms on a regular basis and quite often, at the last minute. There are also board meetings, Executive team away days and all sorts of external meetings that require meeting rooms and of course assistants will be asked to source the venue.
When hiring external meeting spaces assistants should treat the task as they would a small event. There are many factors that will make the meeting a success. There is also the issue of Executives leaving the office building for the day unsupervised! Assistants must ensure they hire a meeting space that that contribute to the success of the meeting. Here are some top tips for hiring meeting rooms.
- If you can, visit the meeting space prior to the meeting so that you are aware of the room’s layout and location within the venue.
- Seats have to be comfortable especially if the attendees are in the meeting all day.
- Check for any visibility issues. Can everyone see each other and the screen (if it is being used)?
- Natural daylight is important, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the meeting room. Lunch, for instance, could be served outside or regular breaks outside of the main meeting space could be scheduled if the room does not have natural daylight.
- Do attendees need a table? If not, this will create a lot of extra space. Also, a table can be quite formal if the objective of the meeting is slightly more creative than usual perhaps a table is unnecessary.
- Do attendees need to stick things to the meeting room walls? If so, check with the venue first – they can be quite protective over their walls!
- Think about the overall layout of the room – how will it best serve the objectives of the meeting?
- Who is attending the meeting? If it is for a board meeting or client meeting the room should be a good quality and worth spending a little more money on.
- Is the venue easy to locate? It might be worth sending all attendees a map just to be on the safe side.
- What technology is provided by the venue? If a screen and projector are required make sure this is set up and ready to go before the meeting starts.
- Will the attendees need to use stationery, such as flip charts. Check that the venue has a good supply.
- Is the furniture flexible? Can attendees move the seats and tables around if need be?
- Are the other meeting rooms in the venue going to used throughout the day? If catering is situated outside the meeting room, this could become quite noisy.
- Is WiFi available for attendees? Does this come at an additional cost?
- Does the venue have to provide catering or is it possible for your attendees to go to a restaurant near to the venue? It might be nice for them to have a break.
- Remind the venue to refresh tea and coffee if the meeting is taking place all day.
- There are meeting rooms in a lot of unusual places so do shop around. Don’t just stick with traditional hotels and venues.
- Signage is important for small meetings. The last thing you want is your attendees wondering around the venue trying to find your room. If you are attending the meeting take a colleague along to help attendees make their way to the room. If you are not attending make sure the attendees know where they are going, and there is appropriate signage in the venue.
- Find out if there is technology support at the venue for attendees. If you are not in attendance pass the contact details of this person on to the chairman of the event in case anything goes wrong on the day.
- If you are not attending the meeting make sure the venue are fully briefed on the schedule. You are trusting them to look after your colleagues and also your reputation so ensure you do everything you can to help them run the day smoothly.
Located in the Surrey countryside Botleys Mansion, a spectacular grade II listed building, is a perfect venue for external meetings and conferences. If you would like to book a meeting space which is a little different Botleys Mansion fits the bill. The Mansion can hold 40-300 attendees in its stunning reception rooms and is available for private and corporate hire. Botleys Mansion is a fantastic choice for team building away days and Executive board meetings which might be more suitable outside of the city.