If you're staging a meeting or training session away from your normal business premises, there's no point hiring a second or third-rate facility. If you're paying for the use of a meeting room, then it needs to be fit for purpose. As well as being equipped with all the necessary furnishings and fittings, it needs to give off a strong, professional vibe. If the meeting room doesn't achieve this, you may as well save your money and use the staff canteen instead.
So what exactly makes a great meeting room? Here are ten must-haves for a facility you'll be happy to use time and time again:
1. Sufficient floor space
You don't want people to be cramped due to lack of space in the meeting room, so always choose one with a suitable capacity. Everyone will need a chair and potentially also a seat at a table or desk. It's better to err on the side of caution and rent a larger room if in doubt.
2. A high enough ceiling
Low ceilings are a no-no - they make people feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. They can also exacerbate any lighting issues which may exist, making the room appear smaller and darker than it should.
3. Air conditioning
If you're staging your meeting or training session in the summer, you don't want everyone getting distracted by the sweltering temperatures. You'll need air conditioning to control the temperature and the flow of cool, fresh air throughout the room.
4. Central heating
Similarly, there's nothing worse than staging a meeting or delivering training when everyone's fingers have turned blue and their teeth are chattering. If the temperature is too low, it will be impossible to have a productive meeting.
The best meeting rooms have large windows which allow in a plentiful supply of natural light. You should be able to open them in order to let fresh air in. The windows will also be fitted with curtains or blinds to guard against the sun's rays at certain points of the day.
6. Presentation facilities
Very often, meetings and training sessions involve PowerPoint displays, slideshows or other presentations. The meeting room should have screens, whiteboards and projecting equipment, to ensure it's easy to set up visual aids with the minimum of fuss.
7. Open space
Ideally, the room will be open-plan, meaning everyone can see each other at all time. L-shape rooms serve little purpose for meetings and training sessions. Equally, you don't want to find that people are hidden behind supporting pillars, out of sight.
8. Power sockets
It may be that everyone involved in the session has a laptop, tablet or smartphone with them which they intend to use. They may need access to a mains power supply, if they don't have a battery or their charge runs out. There needs to be an ample supply of sockets distributed around the room.
Whether the room offers Wi-Fi coverage, Ethernet cables or fixed-line internet access, there has to be a way of getting people online. If wireless broadband is being used, it needs to simple and straightforward to log onto to the network - you should be able to find out the network name and password easily.
10. Light/clear walls
White and other light colours tend to work best for meeting rooms. You don't want to book a facility which has the walls painted black. Nor should it look like a school art project - this will only serve to distract from the real business of the day.