A conference room is one of the most important rooms to get right in any office, as it’s potentially where some of the biggest and most impactful deals will be made. So it needs to impress and inspire clients rather than distracting them by making them feel uncomfortable in any way. To help ensure a conducive environment for a successful meeting and happy participants, read on…
1. Get the Room Right
Firstly, think about size. If you’re designing from scratch, the first question you’ll need to address is: how many people will be using the room? Find an average range and make sure:
- everyone has enough personal space
- there is room to get up and walk around
- there is room for any equipment you will need
- the room is also small enough to feel intimate, personal and secure
Secondly, placement. Your meeting room needs to be located in a part of your building where there are as few distractions as possible. If you have no choice but to locate near a noisy place, however, then you might consider having the room soundproofed.
Ideally, your meeting room should express and consolidate your company’s personality and ethos. If your brand is above all else associated with trustworthiness and dignity, then your room should reflect those values. Similarly if you are more playful and fun, you should go for a quirkier design. Above all, be authentic.
2. Get the Furniture Right
Firstly, table configuration. You have options.
- standard conference rectangle
- U-shape style
- classroom formation
- hollow square or rectangle
- auditorium, with blocks of attendees (more suitable for lecture-type events)
- banquet, with groups sat at small tables (more suitable for workshops and group discussions)
Choose whichever fits with the style of environment you’re trying to create.
Secondly, chairs. Above all else, your clients and guests must be comfortable. Therefore, make sure that their office chairs are ergonomic and comfortable.
3. Get the Technology Right
Today’s conference rooms need advanced high-tech capabilities in order to take on any power, data, communication and connectivity requirements. For example, in today’s ‘Bring Your Own Device’ environment, as well as air chargers, it’s important that your meeting room is equipped with various outputs and is able to handle HDMI, VGA and HDMI to VGA cables, so you may choose to have a cable management box fitted. Or dispense with all of that and make the room fully Wi-Fi compatible and password-connectible, so anyone can present from their own device.
The screen must be big enough for everyone to see but not so big (and not so close) as to overwhelm people.
As for lighting, a little incoming natural light is fine but windows should have shades and blinds to protect against distracting glare. You may also wish to consider:
- avoiding overhead lighting
- avoiding bulbs that emit a lot of heat
- using OLED lighting (organic light-emitting diode), depending on the size of the room
You might also want to make sure the room is equipped with a refrigerator, so that cold refreshments are always on hand, with no distractions necessary.
Follow these tips and remember that your conference room, above all else, must be conducive to collaboration.