Business managers who lead meetings and conferences lose in significant ways when they force their team to endure a room with terrible acoustics. In this article, we’ll explain why quality acoustic panels and acoustical treatments matter in the office environment and how business leaders can get the most out the sound at meetings and conferences.
Acoustic Panels in the Office and Meeting Spaces
A subtle but important way to improve the sound of your meetings is to treat your meeting space with acoustic panels. These panels are designed to absorb harsh, distracting noises like echo and reverb to help the right sounds cut through and resonate with audiences. A crystal clear voice is the best way to transmit the message. Acoustic panels will vastly improve the sound of your meetings whether your business relies on sound equipment or not.
How Acoustic Panels Work to Improve Office Meetings
Have you ever had the experience of talking a walk on a snowy day where everything around you seems to quiet down? This phenomenon happens because the falling snowflakes absorb the sounds around you. Acoustic wall panels work in a similar way. If you’ve ever walked into a quiet theater, church or concert hall and have experienced a sort of serene, silent reverence, acoustic panels were most likely the reason why.
Acoustic panels can improve the sound in your conference rooms and auditoriums by eliminating unwanted harsh sounds to help attendees focus on the message the speakers are delivering. And in the same way people feel a hushed inspiration when they sit down to watch a movie, play or musical performance, people who show up for your business meetings will approach things with more respect, curiosity and openness if the space you’re meeting in is treated with acoustic panels.
Why Sound Control Matters in the Office
Whether you’re heading up a large conference filled with hundreds of attendees or a small meeting consisting of just you and your immediate staff, professionalism is vital. In the same way being unprepared for a project or wearing casual clothes in a business setting is seen as unprofessional or even tacky, not putting effort into the sound at meetings and conferences doesn’t reflect well on you, your company or your message. To make a musical comparison, a band might put on an incredible performance on stage, but if the sound isn’t where it should be, it won’t matter much to the audience.
When bad sound is a part of your meetings, the message you’re trying to convey suffers more than anything else. Problems like white noise, echo, or speakers not being loud enough are distractions that can easily translate into disasters when it comes to trying to get valuable information to people at your meetings. The average person at a big conference isn’t likely to stand up, interrupt the speaker and ask them to repeat the information again.
For example, if you’re a manager meeting with your team to roll out a vital new initiative, pieces of information run the risk of not being heard or edged out by pops and feedback squeals when the sound at your meetings is bad. And since a huge amount of money goes into planning business meetings, bad sound inevitably costs managers, speakers and companies a great deal of time, money and frustration. An important consideration should be allocating resources towards the acoustical treatment of the room and sound absorbing materials.
The average person attending a meeting with poor sound isn’t going to miss the entire message, but bad sound can be detrimental in more subtle ways. Business owners, professional speakers and managers are expected to be reliable, confident and, above all else, prepared. Hosting an important meeting or conference without proper acoustical panel treatments puts you at risk of having it look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Sure, there’s bigger disasters that can happen in business meetings, but lack of sound control is easily preventable and can hurt your reputation.
Most people think of high-quality sound as being something only musicians are concerned about, and for the most part they’re right. For instance, though the audience doesn’t always realize it, the quality of sound at a music venue can make or break an artist’s performance. When it comes to music, the gift of great sound via acoustic panels is an asset that delivers a great sonic performance to the audience as well as confidence to the musicians playing on stage. Not surprisingly, the same applies to the speaker at a business event. A clear voice and uninterrupted delivery impart confidence in the audience that the speaker is trustworthy and worth listening to.
Bonus Tips: Hire Professionals to Run Sound for You
Beyond ensuring adequate noise and echo absorption by employing acoustic panels, one of the best ways to ensure your meetings have clear, solid sound is to hire outside help. When businesses fail to prioritize sound, they often go it alone and buy sound equipment that they try to operate themselves during big meetings with disastrous results. Hiring outside help isn’t cheap, but doing so will take a lot off your plate when it comes to ensuring the sound at your meetings is where it needs to be.
Going with an outside agency for your sound not only gives you the expertise of a professional sound engineer on-site, but also state-of-the-art sound equipment and usually involves sound absorbing wall panels or ceiling panels. If you’re a manager or professional speaker, your talents and expertise probably cover a variety of areas and sound probably isn’t one of them. In the same way you wouldn’t task a new hire to oversee a complicated project, it’s key to leave the sound design to the professionals.
Conclusion - The Case for Great Acoustics in Business
You won’t be able to bring great sound to your meetings until you start treating it like it’s important. Along with things like sticking to an agenda, staying on message and making sure the space you’re meeting in is comfortable and well-lit, the sound environment of your meetings should be a top priority. It's the message that suffers when people can't hear or are distracted by noise echoing around a room that has no sound absorbing materials.
Treating your space with acoustic panels is a critical step to improving the quality of your meetings and overall business communication. For businesses that take their meetings seriously, paying special attention to quality sound treatments can pay off in a big way.