Meetings. They can be a great way to get a group of people together to do amazing things or can be one of the biggest time wasters in your organisation. Meetings typically last for around an hour, sometimes more if they’re not run properly and the layout of your room, how it’s run and the way it’s organised can all impact on productivity and the end result of your meetings.
In this article we talk about room layout, different ways to run a meeting and how to get the most of the time you have your clients or team together.
To get something done a committee should consist of no more than three people, two of whom are absent.
– Robert Copeland
We all joke about meetings being a big waste of time however, when they’re run correctly, they can be an invaluable part of a smooth running business. This is why it’s important to have your room layout and process organised before your meeting so you can get the most out of it.
Meeting room layouts
There are several styles to choose from when it comes to meeting room layouts and the number of people in the meeting and type of meeting you’re running will ultimately change what works best for you and your company, but here’s a few layout options to get you started.
Before you start thinking about layouts, you need to figure out what type of meeting you're running. Is it a client presentation, a training session, a spitballing of ideas or are you closing a deal? These are all very different types of meetings and the layout of the room can have a large impact on the success.
Theatre layout for meeting rooms
This type of layout has rows of people all facing the same way, just like at a theatre or the movies. This gives your customers or teammates the opportunity to face the same way, usually looking at a presenter or powerpoint presentation. This layout is a great option for getting the most amount of people into a room.
Suited for:- Presentations, product launches, short training sessions
U Shape layout for meeting rooms
This type of layout gives users the opportunity to not only look at the presenter, but also for the presenter to engage with the audience by walking into the open centre of the layout to talk with staff, clients or delegates.
Whilst it does decrease your seating capacity a little, the benefit of being able to walk into the middle of the tables and hand out information, documents or talk with individual people makes up for the loss in seats.
Suited for:- Presentations where interaction is needed, workshops, meetings, training sessions
Hollow Square Layout for meeting rooms
One of the most common meeting room layouts – the hollow square, is where everyone sits around a square table and looks into the middle. This is a great layout if you’re looking to maximise audience participation and conversation as everyone has a clear line of sight towards everyone in the room for discussions and eye contact.
Suited for:- Discussions, Board Meetings, General Meetings
Classroom Layout for meeting rooms
As the name suggest, this layout has several rows of usually 4-6 people all facing the same way. Sometimes the room is split down the middle with rows on each side of the room – other times there’s just one row or three rows. This type of layout is good if you need small groups to interact with each other throughout a meeting or training session.
Suited for:- Training Sessions, Small Group Collaborations, Sales Meetings
Running a successful meeting
Once you’ve decided on your meeting room layout, the next thing you need to decide is how you’re going to run your meeting. Having an agenda and a plan in place before the meeting is essential if you’re going to get the most out of the short time you have with your staff or customers.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your meetings.
Ditch the mobiles
There’s nothing worse than people leaving a meeting halfway through to ‘take an important phone call’ or quickly checking email when you’re going through the weeks projects, etc. Have everyone leave their mobiles at the door – either in a box, a bag or stacked in the corner.
Tip: Make meetings fun by having a rule that if anyone answers their mobile during meetings they have to buy the team a packet of Tim Tams, etc.
Have an agenda and stick to it
This one's a biggie. If you outline what the meeting is about and outline how it’s going to run, everyone is more likely to stick to the plan. If people start going off on tangents or Bob from HR starts rambling about something totally unrelated to the agenda, you will be able to bring it back into line if everyone knows what’s expected.
Tip: Having an agenda on paper or on the whiteboard is a visual reminder to people to stay on track during the meeting.
Watch the clock
There’s nothing worse than a meeting that drags on and on and doesn’t actually achieve anything. There are many different studies about people’s attention span and from everything we’ve read and our experience, we find that around 20 mins is the sweet spot. If you can keep a meeting to 30 mins that’s great! Many times a meeting is allocated one hour, but much of this is small talk, catching up or waiting around for people to arrive.
Tip: Start meetings on time. If people are late, make them understand they will need to catch up on info they’ve missed on their own time. If you always wait for everyone to arrive before starting, people will meander in without being conscious of time.
Only invite essential people
We’ve all had those meeting invites where they go out to the entire team and you get to the meeting only to realise afterwards that you didn’t really need to be there. Making sure that only the essential people are invited to the meeting will cut down on chatter and increase your productivity throughout the meeting.
Tip: Decide in advance who does and doesn’t need to be in the meeting. Only invite those people imperative to the outcome or decisions that need to be made during the meeting.
Allocate tasks upon completion
There’s no point having great ideas during a meeting if there’s no-one to make sure they happen once you leave the meeting room. Make sure you allocate tasks to people in the meeting and ensure you follow up to make sure they’re being done.
Tip: Make sure you follow up with people on their tasks a few days after the meeting to make sure things are getting done.
The Final Word
We hope the hints and tips outlined above give you a great resource to take your meetings from good to great! Remember if you’re looking for Brisbane meeting room hire, feel free to call direct on 1800 629 143 or visit the contact us page.