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How to create the perfect meeting room and conference environment

by on August 14, 2019 in News & Events

figtree-conference-environment

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a conference room, freezing to death, because the air-con is set to suit penguins!

Or being stuck all day in a room without natural light.

Having the right meeting or conference environment is just one of the important ingredients to a productive and successful event.

After years of running successful events at Figtree Conference Centre, we’ve come up with the ultimate meeting and conference environment checklist:

  1. A room with a view?

There’s a fine line between having a lovely view from your meeting room which distracts people from the presentations, and feeling like you’re deep in an underground bunker.

The compromise is to book a venue that minimises distraction during presentations but has a pleasant, outdoor space that people can enjoy between sessions.

It helps audience concentration if there’s some room to move and have a quick stretch. It also helps to reduce tiredness caused by sitting down for long periods of time.

  1. The benefits of natural light at meetings

Many studies have shown that natural light can be a productivity bonus. Natural light helps combat sleepiness, and that common afternoon meeting curse, ‘the zone out’.

Of course, many conference venues don’t have access to natural light. So what can you do?

At the very least, it’s a good idea to have a place to go in between sessions which exposes people to daylight, helping to keep people alert.

  1. Arrange the right in-room lighting

The creative use of internal lighting can set the tone of your whole event. It helps shape the ambience of a room, whether that involves using your audio/visual to inject excitement into your event, or toning things down to reflect the ‘serious’ nature of your meeting.

If you’re organising a large event, we recommend hiring a lighting expert to coordinate all aspects of lighting. Or your audio/visual technician might be able to handle lighting as well as their other duties.

It’s a good idea to talk to your venue coordinator to find out whether they can support you. Or they might be able to recommend reliable lighting professionals that they work with.

As well as the more dramatic lighting opportunities, you’ve got to make sure you’ve covered the basics:

  • Do you need to draw the curtains on external windows to shut out ambient light during presentations?
  • If the room is darkened, is there functional lighting to help people move around the room safely?
  • Does a bright screen leave your speaker in the dark? Organise a light which also focuses on the speaker without reflecting on the screen – but check the light isn’t directed from under the speaker’s face (the effect can be a little spooky).
  1. Getting the sound just right

Making sure everyone in the room can hear the speaker is ‘conferencing 101’.

Yet how often has a screeching microphone thrown the speaker off-course?

Or lack of volume means ‘the people at the back’ strain to hear what the speaker is saying because the microphone isn’t working or is inadequate?

  • Microphones – Some speakers like to freedom of moving around the stage, so it’s good to have the option of a lectern and a lapel or roaming microphone.
  • Audio/visual system – Always check – and double-check – how well your sound set-up works before your event and on the day. Make sure you have professional audio/visual backup to reduce the panic if things go wrong.
  • Background noise can be very annoying. Whether it’s ‘banging and clanging’ from the kitchen or jackhammering from the building next door, noise can be distracting. Check with your venue coordinator to make sure this type of noise can be avoided.
  1. Heating and cooling your meeting room

Too hot or too cold? Managing temperature is an important aspect of keeping your attendees comfortable.

The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C.

At a meeting or conference, it’s all about balancing comfort and the ability to keep your audience alert throughout the event. Too warm and people may tend to nod off. Too cold and people feel uncomfortable, needing to move around just to keep warm.

Ideally, you should check on the room temperature, and the ability to adjust it, well before the day of your event.

  1. Consider what’s the best seating style for a successful event

Theatre or classroom? Horseshoe or boardroom style?

Seating arrangements at your conference or meeting can have a big impact on how effective the communication is between the presenter and their audience. The ‘right’ set-up for seating at your event depends on a whole lot of factors including:

  • how many attendees you’re expecting
  • whether or not you want to encourage participation between participants or between the presenter and the audience
  • will the food be served during a presentation?
  • do you need a less formal space outside the main presentation area to allow for easy mingling?

A flexible venue space which allows for a configuration that suits your needs is ideal.

Take a look at the facilities at Figtree Conference Centre here.