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Cafés are good for cake, not business meetings

Cafés are a popular venue for business meetings in New Zealand – Auckland’s North Shore not withstanding – but as a venue for productivity and closing deals they just don’t stack up – no audio visual, patchy Wi-Fi, noisy, unpredictable and often uncomfortable. Here’s why the rise of co-working spaces is helping to solve the problem.

 

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Why people are deserting cafés for their business meetings

Positive first impressions are not difficult for the average business person to achieve – after all, we’re all just people. But when we put our clients, prospects or team members in a noisy, unpredictable and uncomfortable venue – like the local café – not even good coffee is going to be enough to achieve a successful outcome. The good news is that your local co-working space – like The Crate Flexible Office Space on Auckland’s North Shore – has the coffee and an environment designed for professional business.

 

Research reveals business meetings in cafés create negative impression

The rise of flexible working – to be in the office or not to be – is driving people to meet in cafés, but research suggests that the lack of private meeting spaces or rooms at the local café (as well as the noise and crowd factor) mean you may have been better off meeting at the kitchen table (bad coffee aside).

Roy Morgan research of more than 1,000 people found that 66 per cent of people won’t give your business a second chance if you didn’t make a good first impression. Forty-seven per cent of those surveyed said meeting in a café creates a negative impression, while 24 per cent said the home office wasn’t a good look either.

What’s significant is that meeting at home is not good, but it’s better than the local café.

The Australian based research goes on to find that 75 per cent of those surveyed said meeting in a professional business environment had the most positive impact.

Your business objective may be to secure a job, win a new client, hold a productive meeting or brainstorm a new idea, but meeting in a café – even a private room or space in the restaurant-like environment – is likely to get you off to a bad start. Here’s why:

 

Noise

Noise impairs communication, and crowds cause stress.

To this end, research by Marketplace tells us that nearly everyone (98 per cent of respondents) say that noise levels negatively affect their experience. As exposure scientist at the University of Michigan, Rick Neitzel, points out, “noise is a stressor that activates our adrenal, fight or flight response”.

Putting your client or prospect or staff members into a fight or flight mode doesn’t bode well for successful outcomes.

 

Unpredictability

Noise and crowding aside, meeting in cafés exposes you to the unpredictable. Everybody loves babies, but when the local ‘mums and bubs’ club pulls up their chairs next to your table – as they are perfectly entitled to do – you’re in for a rough ride if you’re trying to hold a serious business meeting.

The bottom line is that cafes are not designed to host business meetings, but co-working spaces are.

It’s no wonder that flexible and co-working office venues – which establish a professional business environment – are on the rise. Here are six reasons you might want to consider booking your next meeting at your local co-working space (and if you live and work on Auckland’s North Shore, look up The Crate Flexible Space is Rosedale).

  • Reliable, business-grade high speed WiFi.
  • Professional, welcoming concierge services at the front desk.
  • Low noise meeting space.
  • Comfortable, professional furniture.
  • Distraction and disruption-free predictable outcomes.
  • Quality, cafe grade coffee.
  • At the Crate, you can order in food from any of the neighbouring food outlets.
  • Whiteboard facilities.
  • Most, if not all, meeting rooms will have audio visual equipment and power outlets.

If your goal is a successful business meeting that is relaxed, professional and productive, it’s time to give up on the old café and look up your local shared space, co-working facility.

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