Choosing Meeting Chairs – 5

This is the final post in the series on choosing meeting chairs and it’s time to look at the different types of meeting chair and where best to use them.

The available choice of meeting chairs is huge, so let's begin by breaking them down into 4 main categories.

  • Wood framed chairs
  • Metal framed chairs
  • Swivel chairs
  • Sofas, settees and lounge chairs

Next, let's consider each of our categories and where they might best be used.

Wood Framed Chairs

This type of meeting seat generally comes in either four legged, cantilever or sled based frames. In terms of use they are all pretty suitable for normal meeting use and if you prefer a wood finish it will largely be a case of looks and style that will influence your choice.

If space is at a premium you may need to go for chairs that nest and stack and it’s likely that four legged chairs will offer the widest choice for this. However, it is possible to get nesting and stacking chairs in the other frame style, but they tend to be bulkier and stacking height can be pretty limited.

Companies like HON www.hon.com offer a huge choice of wood framed visitor chairs.

Main advantage of wood chairs are comfort and appearance.

Metal Framed Chairs

Metal framed meeting chairs come in much the same frame styles as wooden chairs, but also include folding chairs, which are a lot less common in wood.

The main advantage of metal framed chairs is their durability, they can handle knocks and bumps better and won't lose chunks out of them or scratch as easily as wood.

They also tend to offer better stacking capability and it’s not unusual to be able to stack 10 chairs high and folding chairs offer the ability to save a lot of space too.

Main advantages of metal chairs are durability and practicality.

Swivel Chairs

Although swivel chairs are more commonly thought of as desk chairs, they make great meeting chairs. For meetings that last a long time they make a great choice as they let the user move easily. If you sit through long meetings on fixed chairs, you'll know how you can end up feeling as stiff as a board after a few hours.

Some swivels come fitted with a return mechanism that returns the chair to face the meeting table when you get out of it. These are popular for board rooms and important meeting rooms as they keep things looking neat and tidy.

Main advantages of swivel meeting chairs are comfort, appearance and practicality.

Sofas, Settees and Lounge Seats

This sort of seating is ideal for informal meeting areas and is very popular for reception lobby areas and waiting areas.

There are many differing styles in this type of seating and there are two important considerations to bear in mind when selecting these sorts of seats.

First, try and avoid the sort of seat with deep upholstery as people tend to sink into them and it can be awkward and embarrassing if they struggle getting out of them. Second, watch out for sofas and seats that are very deep, for the same reason.

They're fine for tall users, but people of below average height can find themselves perched on the edge of the seat and feel ill at ease.

Main advantages of sofas, settees and lounge seats are informality and appearance.

That concludes this 5 part post on meeting chair selection.

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Choosing Meeting Chairs – 4

In this post on our series on meeting chairs it’s time to take a look at what's likely to be important to you about your meeting seating, chances are you'll want to consider some or all of the following points.

Appearance

So how important is the appearance of your meeting seating, are you wanting to impress important visitors with your seating?

Conversely, are you concerned that expensive seating might give the impression that you are making a lot of money from your clients?

Do you want to make a statement with your seating by choosing a bold fabric or do you prefer to select something tasteful but safe?

Try and work out what influences, if any the appearance of your seating will have.

Comfort

How important is comfort to you, for long meetings it could be a key factor. However, you may want to avoid ultra comfortable seating in case people start nodding off during those long PowerPoint presentations!

It may well be best to go for something reasonably comfortable, rather than some super padded, sleep inducing chair.

Durability

Durability will likely be important to you if you intend that your meeting chairs should last for more than 5 years.

Also, if they are likely to be moved around a lot, you'll want something that can stand up to this kind of use.

Maybe they're going to be used in a training room where the users may misuse them, like leaning back on chair legs in which case a stoutly made chair will be advisable.

Practicality

In certain circumstances practicality will be important. If you are short of space and need to use stacking chairs, ease of handling could well be important. Things like size, weight, ease and height of stacking will need to be looked at.

Large bulky seating can present problems for cleaning staff, if they need to move them. It may well be better to consider reasonably portable chairs if frequent cleaning is important.

If seating layouts need to be changed regularly, it might be worth looking at chairs with castors.

So, to summarize you'll need to consider a number of issues that are important for you and one or more of the above points should help you to find what's critical for your business.

In the final post we'll look at the available types of meeting seating and which each type is best suited for.

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Choosing Meeting Chairs – 3

It's time to consider what influences the actual meeting attendees will have, if any on your choice of meeting chair.

Probably the commonest type of meeting will be those held with your own staff and colleagues. For these meetings you may very well be able to opt for a cheaper more basic type of chair.

Your choice could also be swayed by where they work, if it's a messy environment it might be more practical to choice a plastic or vinyl faced seat to make the chairs easier to clean.

For visitors, a lot will depend on where and how you choose to meet with them. This can vary from your reception lobby area to interview rooms or even a dedicated meeting room. Do you prefer formal meetings or would you rather have a more casual and open arrangement?

Depending on what you preference for meeting with visitors is will significantly affect your choice of seating.

For board meetings you'll likely want a more prestigious and comfortable type of chair, possibly in leather or a high quality fabric. Certain types of swivel chair make very good meeting chairs, particularly meetings that are likely to last for some time.

Chairs for interviews are likely to be something fairly formal, with reasonable comfort and that looks the part. Although, you're looking to be impressed by an interviewee, it's also important that they gain a good impression of you and your business. Good people are hard enough to find without putting them off by seating them in inappropriate chairs.

In the next post we'll at what you rate as the most important points about your meeting chairs.

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Choosing Meeting Chairs – 2

In the first post on choosing meeting chairs, we took an overview of the points you need to consider to ensure you get things right.

So let's take a closer look at the first of our considerations.

What sort of meetings will the seating be used for?

What's the likely duration of your meetings, do you generally get through things in under 30 minutes, or do they tend to run for longer?

For short meetings comfort probably won't be an important issue, but it very likely will be for longer meetings.

Do your meetings tend to be very formal affairs, or are you more laid back in your approach to the way you conduct meetings? This could well influence the type of seating you go for, after all you won't want to go for easy seating if you favor a formal approach.

Lastly, do your meetings tend to be predominantly for small or large groups of people? If you meet in large groups then the size of seat could well be important and depending on available space you may need to go for say a smaller stacking chairs to accommodate everyone.

It's no good finding out that the chairs won't fit your room or meeting tables after you've bought them, especially as suppliers are usually reluctant to take seating back if they had it made for your order and didn't supply from their stock.

In the next post will look at the influence that meeting participants may have on your choice of meeting chair.

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Choosing Meeting Chairs

Meetings are an integral part of most businesses and can take many different forms, as a result it follows that different types of seating may be needed.

Before you can choose the type of meeting chairs that are most suitable for you there are some important considerations to look at.

What sort of meetings will the seating be used for?

  • Short meetings
  • Long meetings
  • Formal or informal meetings
  • Large or small meetings

Who will the meetings be held with?

  • Your own staff
  • Visitors
  • Board members
  • Interviewees

What's important to you about the seating?

  • Appearance
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Practicality

So begin by answering these points and prioritize them, to discover what the key issues are for your meeting chairs.

In my next post we’ll take things to the next stage by looking in greater depth at these issues and show you how to successfully the best meeting chairs for your needs.

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