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#204: Meetings Away From Your Office

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 24, 2009
When I was with a large firm, we always had lots of space for meetings. now that I am on my own, getting appropraite meeting space near my office or out of town can be a challenge. How do other consultants handle meetings space in or out of town?

The first option is always a client's space, unless they don't have it or when meeting in that space is inappropriate. This is certainly convenient for client staff. If this doesn't work, or if we are talking about a nonclient, then there are a number of options. You are hardly the first person to face this challenge. A whole industry has grown up around providing on-demand meeting space.

Considerations on choosing an approach include: one-time or multiple use? Include services or just a table and chairs? Budget? Need audiovisual technology? A few hours or several days? Secure space or not? Here is a basic list of options:
  • Airport - join one or more airline clubs, which offer common or private space. Pick the airline with clubs in the cities you are most likely to do business, and the clubs with the greatest accessibility. Some clubs provide daily access or use of your premium credit card for access.
  • Hotels - Sometimes staying in a multi-room suite is cheaper than renting a meeting room. Some hotels have public areas in which you can find a quiet corner for a small group meeting.
  • Restaurants - Depending on your needs, you may be able to arrange with the restaurant for a private room or corner table.
  • Business Clubs - Some have reciprocity with clubs you may belong to, others are member-only.
  • Professional Meeting Space - All kinds of choices here from corporate rental to residential centers. Regus is one of many companies with facilities in hundreds of cities.
  • Other options - libraries, museums, universities, government facilities, and other seemingly public places often have rooms for rent, or free usage.

Tip: Use your IMC connections to contact someone in the city to which you are travelling and ask for their recommendations.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  meeting preparation  virtual teams  your consulting practice 

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Comments on this post...

Richard P. Morgan CMC FIMC says...
Posted Thursday, December 24, 2009
Indeed, calling an IMC member in the meeting city may very well gain you, a fellow IMC member, the information and recommendation that will best suit your needs. An IMC colleague may even offer his/her facility for your brief meeting.

I have a virtual office with Regus in Dallas with several conference rooms available to me on an hourly basis for a modest fee. I can also get space in other Regus facilities if needed by reserving in advance. The Regus executive offices are very professional and they offer other business services on site if needed.
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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009
I can't speak about out-of-town meetings. But local meetings are not difficult. Like many IMCers, I work out of a home office. My condo building has several conveninet places to meet. If most of the attendees are from N. VA (I am in Bethesda, MD), I can usually get space at the offices of a prime contractor wiht whom I do a lot of work. Restaurants near my home office, like the Marriott down the road, are another conveninet meeting venue. Thesea re all free. For a larger meeting, I would rent a room at the Marriott. Or the other option is to ask the other attendees if thye have convenient meeting space.
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