Conference room ideas | How to find a conference room anywhere

How you can find a conference room today

Find a conference roomYou may not need a conference room if you are meeting one on one, as most coffee shops will do nicely.

One of my favourite TV shows was an Australian comedy called Very Small Business. Don Angel, a small business owner, has several phone lines and he answers each in a different business name. His office is an oversized city office, with nothing but an under-furnished conference room and single desk in the middle of the office.

Conference room rental for very small business

I had to laugh at the example above because I was a small business owner at the time. While Don Angel took things to extremes, I had experienced situations where I wanted to appear more professional than a sole trader working out of a small home office. One situation was when I had to present to a small team of executives and they offered to come to my office. I was working from home and there wasn’t a conference room in sight.

Every business will experience growing pains, like this, at some stage. Thankfully, we no longer live in a time when people with resources control everything. Small businesses have access to so much, if only they learn the art of resourcefulness.

Conference room locations you may not have considered

If you don’t have a conference room of your own and you think you’re limited for options, here are 8 alternatives you might not have considered.

McDonald’s has a conference room

[pause while the laughter dies down]: No, seriously. I have been in to some McDonald’s stores in Australia where they actually hire their party room out for conferences. It’s a free service, on the understanding that you get some catering from their café. Most of them have free WiFi, so what’s not to like?

Conference room rental in airport lounges

Airport lounges are big business now. Some of these lounges, particularly in city areas, have workspaces and meeting rooms. You might even be lucky to find meeting space at some regional airports. Chances are you’ll have free Wi-Fi there too.

Some Officeworks stores have a conference room

Unfortunately our local Officeworks doesn’t have a conference room, however, some do. As far as I am aware, it’s a free service they offer to their account clients. Check out the Officeworks website for locations.

Conference rooms are available at incubation centres

Incubation centres and shared offices are becoming quite common in city areas and I know they are starting to appear in some regional areas, like Wagga too. Most incubation centres offer hot desks and shared workspaces, as well as shared facilities, including the occasional conference room.

Many hotels and motels have a conference room

Hotel and motel facilities are not always just reserved for guests. In fact, most hotel and motel owners I know would be happy to rent their conference rooms by the hour. Don’t overlook these local facilities as a possible venue for your next team meeting.

Conference room rentals online

A few online sites now allow businesses to list and rent their excess office space. I think this is a great idea, although this idea is yet to make an impact in regional areas. There are a few alternatives but check out Spacely for an example.

Most univiersity libraries have a conference room available

While this may not have the corporate feel for presentations, you can usually find a quiet meeting room for team projects etc. Ask about any programs at the university, as some universities are now building incubation centres for startups to work from.

Y0ur town library may have rooms available

Your local library often has small conference rooms. In many cases, library staff will probably let you book and use them for free or for a small fee. They don’t usually have a corporate feel but sometimes they will be all you need.

You can find conference room facilities anywhere

I’m sure you can come up with a few more ideas. You probably have your own solution for finding a conference room or other facilities, when you’re under resourced. Please share this article if you find it helpful or feel free to leave your own ideas and tips in the comments.

Business Meeting Management

Business meeting management is about steering your meetings towards the desired outcomes, in a timely manner. Most daily and weekly catch ups are a string of clichés, bad boss jokes and hardly a motivating way to start the day. No offence to my current boss of course, whose jokes are always on point!

Before every business meeting, management should ask, “Why is this meeting necessary?”, “Who needs to be at this meeting?” and, “What’s the best way to conduct this meeting?” Please don’t schedule a meeting to repeat the numbers your team already has access to. Worse still, don’t just rattle of a bunch of cliché phrases and sayings. Remember, there’s actually no such thing as 110%… so just stop it!

Meetings are not always the best approach. Part of effective business meeting management is deciding whether a meeting is even required. Eliminate unnecessary meetings if you think another approach is more suitable. Is there a way your team can work together on a document or project without being in the same room at the same time? Perhaps email, intranet, a conference call or web conference might be suitable alternatives to a physical meeting.

Consider the cost of a meeting before it starts. What does it cost in lost wages for each attendee? What does it cost in lost productivity? Does the benefit of this meeting outweigh the expense?

If you catch yourself using phrases like “catch up”, “it would be nice” or “we haven’t had one for a while”, stop and think. Is this meeting really the best use of our time as a team? It might be nice to catch up but what’s the specific purpose of this meeting?

Be clear. Specify your meeting’s objectives. Here are a few business meeting management tips, so you get the most out of your next team catch up:

Before your business meeting

  • Management should clarify the meeting’s purpose
  • Specify who needs to attend and who does not
  • Specify each outcome you would like to achieve
  • Prioritise your single most important outcome
  • Establish a brief agenda ahead of your meeting
  • Circulate the agenda, so attendees can start thinking about each point

During your meeting

  • Determine which actions are required following your meeting
  • Assign responsibility to specific attendees for follow up actions
  • Ask if additional resources are required
  • Decide how and when to check progress or collect feedback
  • Schedule a follow up meeting time and date immediately

Set a clear start and end time for your meetings. If another attendee wants to present during your meeting, you should ask how much time they require. If they need too much time, explain their topic might be a subject for another meeting. If you agree to let them present, hold them accountable to the time they asked for.

You need to remember your time and that of your attendees is valuable. Everyone in your team plays a role and you’re asking them to take time out to attend. Business meeting management is about steering your meetings towards the desired outcomes, in a timely manner. Make sure you’re not wasting your team’s most valuable resource; time.