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Tue 14 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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"Flexibility" is the future for meetings

The days of rigid breakout sessions are over and flexible meetings are the future.

The days of rigid breakout sessions are over and flexible meetings are the future.

General manager of Sheraton Deira Hotel and Towers, Dubai, Francois Waller said it was "time to look at meetings differently".

"At the moment you go for a meeting and the coffee break is set at a specific time and if you're not ready then, bad luck my friend, it gets pulled away," Waller said.

Waller explained he witnessed the future of meetings when in an airport lounge.

"I saw this concept on one of my trips and said ‘wow these guys have done it right'. You have the meetings rooms you have an area where you can relax," he said.

"You have coffee, juice, traditional and non traditional snacks like M&Ms or Danish pastries, sandwiches - always something that is readily available when you can walk out."

The need for a re-think of the standard meeting came after one too many experiences of "sitting in a meeting nearly falling asleep", according to Waller.

"You sometimes need to stretch your legs and you don't want to disturb everyone by saying you have to have your break now," he said.

"That should be gone. I understand when you have 400 or 500 people you have to structure a meeting, but I am looking at 15 to 30 guys where you can be flexible and let them decide when to do something."

Waller is looking to incorporate a flexible meetings package at the Sheraton Deira Hotel and Towers following its current refurbishment.

The property will also be equipped with Sheraton's branded signature communication hub ‘The Link @ Sheraton experienced with Microsoft', which is due to open in the second quarter of 2009.

"It is like a meeting point connection for customers where you can look at your mail, watch sports on TV," explained Waller.

Rolling out globally, the Link is intended to provide a comfortable space for Sheraton's business clients to do business, network and stay in touch with family and friends.

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