Meetings are a key part of business life, but they can be stressful. It’s important to choose the right venue for your meeting so that you and other participants will feel comfortable during conversation.
You want to make sure your meeting space says the right thing. The tone of voice should be friendly, and you’ll have more success when everyone is engaged in pleasant conversation rather than just staring at a PowerPoint presentation for hours on end.
“A meeting is like a party,” says Steve Blake, general manager of La Quinta Inns & Suites in Rochester, N.Y., whose goal is to make meetings as pleasant as possible for his guests. “I want my staff to be engaging and attentive.”
The right setting is essential if you want your guests to relax and feel at home. Here are five tips that will help you run a successful business meeting:
1. What size venue should I book?
The number of people attending will affect the space you need. You want your audience to be comfortable, so don’t choose an overcrowded location if it’s not feasible for that many guests. Book the appropriate number of seats for your meeting. A larger room will make the guests feel more comfortable, while a smaller one can seem closed in if there are not enough seats. If you know exactly how many people to expect, reserve that many places and consider keeping an empty seat at each table. This allows participants to sit with others if they like or move around as needed throughout the event.
2. How will people get to the venue?
If you’re not planning to bus your guests from their hotels, be sure the place is easy to reach. If your attendees are staying nearby, try a restaurant or hotel bar for an informal gathering before the official meeting starts later in the day.
3. What is your budget?
You should check on your budget before arranging a meeting. Different types of venues will be available, depending on your budget. For small meetings, you can choose a restaurant or café and arrange for the meeting space in advance (which they may have available even if they don’t serve lunch). You could also reserve a table at a hotel with business center services. Be sure to ask about catering options when booking; some venues might already offer items specifically designed to cater to conference groups. Of course, there is the option of arranging everything yourself through an outside venue or caterer from home.
4. How can I make my guests more comfortable?
Choose a place that has many seats so that everyone has enough room. If your attendees are staying overnight, choose a hotel near restaurants and shops so that participants won’t have to travel far if they want to leave the meeting for a little while.
5. Your meeting equipment?
Projectors and screens are a staple of meetings everywhere. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got the equipment needed for your presentation, whether it involves slideshows or video. projectorsarea.com has a variety of products for both indoor and outdoor events. They also offer a wide selection of accessories like extension cables, mounting brackets and more.
If your business is having a seminar-type event, consider renting an HD projector from a local store. There should be plenty of options if you look around town with large retail stores like Walmart and Target. Knowing where to rent equipment will save you time running back and forth between multiple locations, since most electronics stores also carry audio equipment like speakers as well as projectors and screens. Also keep in mind that some people prefer to use their own equipment instead of renting, so be sure to ask people before you book a venue if they already have what they need for the seminar.
The last thing you want is for someone’s computer or laptop to crash mid-presentation. That can cause some major problems with your overall meeting and make everyone there feel flustered and annoyed—not a good way to start an important discussion or lecture!