Business meetings can be held in a variety of settings, including bars, restaurants and coffee shops, but not all of these places truly meet entrepreneurs’ needs. It’s often said that there’s no substitute for a proper meeting room, both in terms of practicality and the need to project a professional image.
However, while a meeting room needs to meet certain criteria – a quiet area with minimum distractions will nearly always be required – it shouldn’t be presumed that one type of meeting room will suit all requirements.
Indeed, in some circumstances, it might be the case that a physical meeting room isn’t even the best option. For instance, in the case of a team of geographically dispersed freelancers working independently on a large project, video conferencing and remote working might be more suitable.
Business leaders are increasingly recognising the value of video conferencing and its role in enabling remote working, allowing employees to work flexible hours and cutting unnecessary commuting time.
Research also indicates that businesses could make huge savings by introducing flexible working. A recent poll conducted by YouGov in tandem with Vodafone showed that companies that allowed employees to work from home could get rid of an average of 46 desks each – which could save British businesses £34bn
Furthermore, research has also shown that video conference participants are far more likely than conference call participants to remain focused on the discussion in hand – with 35 minutes the average attention span on a video call, compared to only 23 minutes on a telephone call.
On the other hand, in the instance of a new business pitch, it might be that a video conference would be a poor substitute for a more personal face-to-face conversation in a well-equipped meeting room.
Additionally, a new business meeting held in a proper meeting room is far more likely to make a better impression than the same meeting held in a coffee shop. For the newly launched start-up business, conveying a professional business image to gain confidence from prospective clients is paramount – a coffee shop meeting is far less likely to project the image of an established and successful firm.
Aside from business perception, practical concerns around staging meetings in coffee shops include the potential loss of valuable information, including documents and property, such as phones or laptops, as well as uncertain internet quality and potential difficulty in photocopying documents and charging laptops and phones.
Whatever the meeting situation, there’s increasingly an affordable solution that can project the correct image and even cut costs and commutes. There’s little doubt that investing in the correct meeting room can play a significant role in ensuring the success of a business.