Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: July 30, 2018 How to

Find the right meeting space

Meetings, meetings and more meetings. If your calendar looks like mine, you could be attending an event or meeting, morning, noon and night. When looking ahead, there doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in the number of meetings being scheduled.

No doubt you can remember a meeting that was distracting or dull. Or the one that was too cramped for networking or effective presentation purposes? Don’t forget that space that was too cavernous and noise levels were deafening! So, how do you avoid the ordinary and the overcrowded?

Selecting a venue that reflects your audience is key to ensuring your meeting is well-attended and productive. It starts with a complete understanding of the group’s goals and how they work.

Meeting objective

Meetings take countless forms, depending on the goal: training workshops, board meetings, focus groups, conferences, expos, etc. Every meeting is unique, and the venue should reflect its unique qualities, whether it’s a keynote, expert panel, or demonstration. If you are going to be doing presentations, you need to consider a whole host of audio/video or whiteboard equipment.

If you are meeting board members or clients, then you will want a meeting space that projects your business relationship, whether its professional or casual. Workshops or meetings with catering require another level of planning to meet the dietary restrictions and foodie interests of the groups.

The budget

Before looking for an outside meeting space, start with a detailed budget. All too often, companies plan meetings to fit budgets and make trade-offs between niceties and necessities. For example, wi-fi is not a nicety, it’s a necessity. Oversights can lead to unpleasant experiences.

To figure out how much you’re willing to spend on your meeting, there are a lot of factors to evaluate, including:

Location: You need to understand what a prospective or existing client likes or what might impress them. Make certain that the meeting space has the right atmosphere to train employees, conduct interviews, hold an annual meeting, or host a company party. For example, maybe your client is a history buff — Maine has plenty of revitalized mills, museums, and farmhouses to choose from.

If people are traveling for out of state or town, transportation must be considered. A location near airports, bus stops, subway stations, and hotels may be the way to go. While one location may cost less, attendees’ transportation costs might impact attendance. Best to make it an easy as possible for your group, otherwise the travel hassles might dampen the meeting day mood.

Meeting planner: For larger meetings, a planner is worth the expense. This person will be the liaison between facility, A/V, catering and your company. This level of dedicated attention will ensure seamless execution and allows your employees to participate in the event. Referrals are recommended, as you want to hear testimonials to make sure the person has the right experience for your meeting.

Parking: Are there enough parking spaces for all attendees? Is the location walkable? Depending on the day or time some individuals have devout traditions that sometimes restrict them from using vehicles.

Engagement: Meetings are no longer just sitting in seats. Engagement through technology and collaborative activities such as live polling, social media hashtags, event apps, and more have made it easier than ever to connect with your attendees — if you’re in the right space.

Visit the location in person: It goes without saying that it’s essential to preview meeting space ahead of time. If it is local, then schedule time for a walkthrough. If that’s not feasible, some venues offer a virtual online tour, or you can request a video chat. Bottom line: distance should not prevent a site visit of some type.

Your meetings and conferences should fully engage your group, from location, smartphone connectivity, movement flow, food, presentations, sound and more.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF