Applied Innovation in Organization Design and Development

Ten New Standards for Meeting Room Design

Although the names may have changed, the meeting rooms looked the same. In California, Leland Stanford or Charles Crocker sat at the head of the table celebrating the completion of the transcontinental railroad. In New York, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller managed the vast wealth of their banking and industrial empires. In North Carolina, James Buchanan Duke presided over the cultivation of countless acres of tobacco. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, these men and others like them defined business success in America and, coincidentally, established enduring fashions in meeting room design. A long, narrow table, elegantly crafted from a single piece of wood, dominated each room and focused attention toward the sole individual seated at the head of the table. Tall, straight-backed chairs, upholstered with luxurious hides, conveyed the status of all present and punctuated the formality of the proceedings.

Today, nearly 150 years later, meeting room use and practices have changed dramatically. Although some meetings still demand boardroom levels of formality, more often business meetings take place to engage, motivate, connect, and inform both customers and the workforce. Changes in meeting room design, however, have not kept pace with changes in meeting room use. Working as an organization development specialist and professional meeting facilitator for more than twenty years, Sharon J. Heringer has planned, conducted and participated in more than 1500 meetings, held in every conceivable meeting environment. In office buildings, resorts and hotels, restaurants and retreat centers, as well as private homes; from the penthouse to the basement and every nook and cranny in between; across North America, Europe and Africa, if a venue can host a meeting, Sharon has been there. Based on these experiences and related theory as noted herein, Sharon has distilled ten new standards for effective meeting room design to serve the needs of meeting participants, facilitators, and venue providers in pursuit of their respective goals. She has written an article that explains these ten standards, recently published in the practitioner's journal of The NTL Institute for Applied Behavioural Science, Practising Social Change. You may receive a free .pdf copy of the article, called "Ten New Standards for Meeting Room Design," by ordering the free product listed on this page. The full article will be available for instant download immediately after ordering.
Please note that the publisher has hosted all article images online. Click on the links in the .pdf article to view related images.

Standard 1. Herman Miller Inc. Design Yard, Danny W. Mansmith ( dannymansmith/)


Standard 2. Photo of Rover Daddy provided by Versteel (


Standard 3. Results of Brainstorming Session, undated. Enterprise Development Group


Standard 4. Photo of TIM tables provided by Versteel (


Standard 5. Photo of Earth provided by NASA ( gsfc/4426654941/)


Standard 6. Interior Herman Miller, Inc.'s Design Yard, Michael R. Hills, 2005


Standard 7. Verner Panton Fun Lamp at Intentional Design Inc., LeeAnn Heringer, 2008


Standard 8. Howard Miller Accuwave II Wall Clock at Intentional Design Inc., LeeAnn Heringer, 2008


Standard 9 - Graphic


Standard 10. Goldfarb & Lipman LLP Conference Center, LeeAnn Heringer, 2010

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