For occasional one-on-one meetings, restaurants represent neutral ground and a chance to capitalize on the social ritual of sharing a meal. But if you’re meeting with groups, need more privacy or need a space to make a PowerPoint presentation, consider professional suites.
Executive suites are located in virtually every city, large or small, and provide meeting rooms that you can rent on an hourly basis. Several large corporations provide websites where you can locate a suite near where you live. These are the Office-suites.com and the Regus Group (www.regus.com). These office-rental organizations can also provide secretarial services, take phone calls, and receive mail for you.
The U.K.-based Regus Group (www.regus.com) operates 1,500 centers in 600 cities and 100 countries and Office Suites (http://www.office-suites.com/), (866-219-3606) offers rooms throughout the United States. Their meeting room facilities come in different configurations, such as board rooms, conference rooms, interview rooms, training rooms, data rooms and rooms suitable for audio, video or web conferencing. Other companies operate in multiple states and countries and there are locally owned suite facilities as well, which you can find using the list of suites listed in the Open Directory Project, http://www.dmoz.org/Business/Business_Services/Office_Services/Office_Space/.
The cost of renting a room from a suite company varies by community, but expect to spend under $100 for a three-hour meeting. You can rent an office on a yearly basis for about $20.00 per foot or about $2000 for 120 square feet or you can rent a room on an hourly basis.
If you need to hold meetings frequently, you may also be able to make a similar arrangement with a small law or accounting firm to use their conference room. If you can afford it, joining a private social club and using its restaurant or private meeting rooms may offer a measure of prestige along with functionality. Or, you might rent space from colleagues.
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