How often have you been at an event or a meeting, waiting in silence as the presenter tries to connect to the screen? Everyone sits there, either silently cringing in sympathy for the presenter or feeling annoyed at the delay. This discomfort can throw off the entire vibe of a meeting. The presenter is thrown off his or her game before the meeting even begins, and the attendees have lower enthusiasm for the topic at hand.
To some, a conference room may seem like just a room with tables and chairs. A place where co-workers meet to discuss various topics, launch new ideas, or catch up on the latest news. Really, a conference room is so much more. It’s where an employee makes the pitch of her lifetime to close a deal with an important client; it’s where the executive team presents to the Board of Directors to request additional funding; it’s where a recent college grad makes his first business presentation; it’s where someone interviews for a new position.
A lot of important decisions happen in a conference room. So it’s important to ensure that your conference rooms, big or small, are well-equipped with the right tools. This post outlines some of the accessories you need, as well as tips for making sure your approach is as future-proofed as possible.
Essential Items for Every Conference Room
- A good screen: This is needed for sharing presentations for both internal and client-facing meetings. The screen must be easy to use (i.e. turning on and off) and connecting to various laptops.
- Adapters: There should be a variety of adapters available, given that various makes and models of laptops may need to connect to the screen
- Adapter Tethers: These are necessary to ensure adapters are not lost or taken from various conference rooms. These also lead to the elimination of wasting the first few minutes trying to connect or find an adapter.
- Whiteboard: To ensure whiteboards are not ruined or avoiding sensitive information being shared, all whiteboards should be erased after every meeting. If the information on the whiteboard needs to be maintained, the designated note-taker of the meeting should either copy it to a notebook or take a photo on their mobile device.
- Markers, erasers and cleaning tools: Each conference room should have extra markers available. It’s also best to avoid colors that are bright and hard to read (i.e. yellow)
- Post-It notes: These are great for brainstorming sessions. Various colors are often helpful if different topics, timelines or procedures are being discussed.
- A good phone and/or conference call system: This is imperative for client calls and employees working remotely. If possible, you want to have easy dial-in access as well.
- Good lighting: This will be helpful to avoid any glare on the screen or whiteboard.
- White Noise Machine: Helpful for more sensitive conversations or blocking outside noise (i.e. any construction sounds or sirens).
- A clock: This is necessary to be respectful of everyone’s time, both employees and clients. There should be a designated person ensuring all clocks are accurate and aligned across the building and updated if/when needed.
Preparing Your Conference Rooms for the Future
As more companies embrace remote work and hotdesking, technology needs change. Many companies are embracing a “remote-first” mindset, even if they have a headquarters. Remote-first means that a company is committing to making sure that every single meeting is remote friendly. Many remote-first companies require that – if one person is dialing in remotely – all employees must dial in remotely. This helps ensure that everyone is on a level playing field.
If you’re building out new conference rooms, bring a forward-looking perspective to the build-out process. What percentage of your employees might be remote in a couple years? What will those team members require? What technology do you need to help remote workers feel just as central to the discussion as co-located employees? Seek out smart TVs or other equipment that can mature as trends mature.
Preparing your conference rooms for the future also means ensuring that your meeting spaces can adapt to the hardware trends of the future. For instance, what if the next generation of Apple laptops require a new type of adapter? What if some of your employees prefer to work from an iPad? Make sure you have the dongles and other accessories to handle these shifts in how people work.
Maintaining Your Conference Rooms
Although the above items may seem simple and obvious, too many businesses fail to keep them on hand. They’re attainable, yes, but you need to make sure that they stay put. Make a point of doing a regular check of each conference room, especially when preparing for high-stakes meetings or pitches to a client. This is especially critical when it comes to the accessories (like an adapter) that can make or break your meetings.
One of the biggest benefits that TetherTies customers cite when using our products is that they no longer run into embarrassing situations with clients. Because dongles are securely tethered in the conference room, they no longer feel the stress of trying to plug a laptop into the screen, only to discover that someone has walked off with the correct adapter. And even better, with TetherTies, you can tether multiple adapters easily.
To preserve their condition, it’s important that some light maintenance is completed throughout the year. Restock items that are running low, adjust your clocks as necessary, and give your whiteboards the occasional deep clean. You’ll also want to make sure that you take the time to replace batteries on a regular basis. If you have a wireless mouse, for instance, it’ll need new batteries pretty regularly.
Most larger companies have a person or team who maintains conference spaces. This helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. By outfitting all of your conference rooms with these tools, your teams can close deals, obtain additional funding, and hire the best possible team members. A little foresight can go a long way towards making sure that your business can operate as smoothly as possible.