Whether you're planning an informal gathering of employees to discuss company business or putting on a presentation for your industry peers, making sure the meeting goes well is likely at the top of your agenda. In addition to choosing the right conference facilities to host your get-together, here are three tips to increase the odds it will be a success.
Pick the Right Seating Arrangement
One important aspect of a good meeting is the seating arrangement. There are several different layouts, but the best style for your meeting depends on the type of engagement you want to have with your audience. The four most common layouts used are:
- Boardroom style – This layout features all members of the meeting seated around a large table. This is a good option for discussion groups, committee meetings, and working on group projects. Since the participants are facing each other, this style is good for fostering interaction between attendees. However, this setup is only ideal for small groups and may not be the best arrangement for presentations as people may have a difficult time seeing around others at the table depending on how the equipment is set up.
- U-Shape – This setup consists of placing several conference tables in the shape of a "U" and having all the participants seated along the perimeter. This setup naturally directs attention to the mouth of the "U", making it a good option for presentation. At the same time, the set up also fosters interaction between participants since they can still see each other without straining. However, this set up is not ideal for large groups, though you can probably fit more people in the room than you could at a board table.
- Classroom style – In this layout, the tables are arranged in rows with all the participants facing the front of the room. This is a good format for meetings where people need to take notes and/or view a presentation. It's also good for larger groups of people. However, interaction between attendees is hindered since they are all facing the same direction.
- Theater format – This format is just like the classroom style except there are no tables, just seating facing a raised platform or stage where the presenter stands. This allows you to fit more people in the room and everyone can see the presenter, making it ideal for very large groups. Like the classroom style, though, it's more difficult for people to interact with each other.
Consider the number of individuals that will be attending, how you want to interact with them, and how you want them to relate to each other, and then pick the best seating arrangement for your needs.
Choose Energizing Foods
One thing that can affect how well your meetings go is your attendees' energy levels. It may be hard for them to pay attention and contribute if they're falling asleep in their chairs. The type of food you serve at the meeting can have a big impact on the participants' ability to concentrate. For instance, food with simple sugars such as donuts and cookies give a jolt of energy because they are digested quickly. However, once the person's blood sugar levels fall, the individual may be left feeling more tired and sluggish than before.
A better option is to serve food that provides sustained energy such as fruit, vegetables with hummus, whole-grain energy bars, and nuts. Foods like these typically don't induce the same sugar spikes as simple carbohydrates, so they provide more sustained energy and help you participants stay awake and aware longer. You can still serve coffee and black tea for people who may need a quick caffeine-fueled pick me up.
Make Smart Use of Apps
Making smart use of apps can help facilitate a good meeting. For instance, there is an app that lets you mark down the names of the people attending the conference and make notes about them that may help you remember how they contributed to the meeting. This is good for when you need to follow up with people at a later date.
Another app eliminates the need for you to clutch your phone during a presentation by displaying your talking points in a font large enough that you can see the list from a distance, letting you walk around and interact with participants more freely.
Putting on a successful meeting can be challenging, but these few simple tips can help you pull it off. For more ideas on making your meeting the best it can be or to book a room for your group, contact a conference center in your area.