When it comes to meeting spaces, there is more to room design than meets the eye. Having been crowned as the Top MICE City in the World 6 times in a row, Singapore’s meeting landscape has evolved significantly in the last decade. While there is a long list of what used to be nice-to-haves that eventually became must-haves, as an organizer myself, I have to say that apart from the content and delivery method, atmosphere of the meeting room has one of the greatest impact on the outcome of your meeting. Forget about the 20 dishes at the lunch buffet line, the $50,000 chandelier hanging in the meeting room, or even the 7m ceiling height, things that have minimal effect on your meeting. Here are the elements of the meeting room that really makes a difference:
We often associate colours with moods. Seeing red means being angry, when you feeling unwell you say you’re feeling blue, you feel jealous when the green-eyed monster bites you. On the other hand, green being the colour of nature also makes you feel calm and relaxed. There is no denying that colours and mood are inseparable. This is especially helpful in a hierarchy-savvy country like Singapore where employees get nervous and tense in the presence of top management personnel; green can aid to reduce their anxiety levels.
According to a 2014 research conducted by the World Green Building Council, workers in offices with natural elements (such as greenery and sunlight) were found to be 15% more creative, and well-designed workspaces with natural light explained a 16% variation in learning. Studies have also shown that fluorescent lighting causes eyestrain and is a trigger for migraines. Because light is the key component of vision and we are 90% visual beings, it is not difficult to comprehend how adequate amount of good (preferably natural) lighting is an important component in concocting the ideal atmosphere for meeting.
I absolutely love it when customers ask, what is the most ideal number of participants that can fit a particular meeting room rather than what’s the maximum capacity of that room. While the space factor is sometimes overlooked by even the most experienced event planners, it is important to plan the meeting space according to the agenda to ensure sufficient space for each attendee, especially if they are spending the whole day in the same room. Not just in the case of over packing meeting rooms, a sparse meeting room will also lead to the presenter losing the crowd.
Nobody wants to work in an office with 4 white walls. There are countless reasons why everyone wants to work for Google, but their super cool office is one obvious reason that got thousands raving about it. Many shudder at the thought of meetings because they associate meetings with hours of wasted time trapped inside a box. How about taking your meeting to an igloo, a warehouse or even a cottage? Injecting a playful twist in the boring old meeting room makes everyone feel comfortable and that goes a long way in helping you achieve your meeting goals.
Many of us have been in one THOSE meetings where we were distracted by noises like construction, traffic and even constant typing on the laptop. Some people are easily distracted by such noises; research has shown that ambient noise, when used in the right amounts can boost creativity. Most meetings tend to be interrupted by uninvited noise, especially in the presence of side-by-side meeting rooms. Imagine having a serious meeting about laying off half the organization amidst celebratory whoops of the next room celebrating their successful quarter. Forget about negligent white noises like the air vent blowing because nothing kills the meeting atmosphere more than not having sound privacy to surrounding activities.
Formal spaces with harsh atmosphere encourages insecurities, impeding productivity. On the other hand, casual places with a collaborative atmosphere promotes creativity. While not everyone has the budget to “Googlise” their office, there are some simple steps for companies have a little creative space for meetings. Having a well-designed meeting room will definitely pay off in the long run. After all, meetings are a huge part of our working life and whoever said meetings are boring simply didn’t know where to have meetings!
Joewin is the CEO of Huone Singapore. Previously she was the Founder and Managing Director of Linear Dots Production and she planned events for multiple local and regional companies. she was named ‘Top Entrepreneur’ by Top Entrepreneur magazine in 2015, and is frequently interviewed by key media. To get in touch with Joewin, go to www.huone.events/sg