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When we think of board rooms, most of us just think of a more official type of meeting room. In a sense, this is what they are — or at least, what the word has come to represent. But why is it really called a board room? And is a board room different from a meeting room? Let’s explore when we should use this word.


Board room etymology

There is some debate over the origin of the term board room, so it’s difficult to determine the truly correct answer — or whether there is one clear answer at all!

Some armchair etymologists will argue that the word is derived from the fact that employees often use presentation boards to display analytics, findings, and ideas during meetings. Colleagues use boards in these meeting rooms, hence the name. Seems convincing doesn’t it? But perhaps a little simple…

Others maintain that because in early Middle English the use of the word ‘board’ was extended to include ‘table’, board room could have developed from this meaning. There is also a connection between the Old Norse word for ‘table’ and the ‘maintenance at table’, which ties into the idea of speaking honestly and openly ‘above board’ (rather than keeping things ‘under the table’). You can see how this would evolve to apply to the concept of board rooms, where councils and leaders would conduct meetings — plus the term ‘board of directors’.

Now, we can safely say that board room generally refers to a room where a board of directors of a company or organisation regularly meet. Of course, not all companies even have an official board of directors anymore. As such, the term can also refer to a more formal meeting place — typically for CEOs, partners, or senior employees to hold important discussions.


Board rooms vs. meeting rooms

After our digging into the origins and use of ‘board room’, it seems pretty clear that these spaces are slightly different from your standard meeting or conference rooms. Though any room could be deemed a board room, they are more likely to be in a grand setting, with a formal table and seating arrangement. You’ll often find beverages and snacks in board rooms, too.

If you invite someone to a board room meeting, they’ll be expecting a slightly more serious, focused, and well-planned affair. Unless this is the atmosphere of your meeting or meeting space, stick to using the terms meeting room or conference room — especially if you don’t know the people you’re inviting to the meeting. Meeting rooms are more casual, open to spontaneous discussion and collaboration, and used more frequently.

If you’re looking to host a meeting in a regular space but want it to still have a professional feel, look into hiring a meeting space with a board room feel — meaning an polished decor, classy furniture, and refreshments for your guests or employees.


Meeting rooms in Birmingham

Searching for meeting rooms in Birmingham? Look no further than Nettl Business Store. Choose between the Grand Room (which does what it says on the tin) or the Aviary, which has a more casual, laid back atmosphere. Whether you need to hold an important meeting with a prospective client or need a space to bring your team together, we’ll have the perfect city centre space for your needs. We’re cost-effective too. Choose to rent your room for one hour, half a day, or all day.

Our facilities include private workspaces, TV screens, breakout areas, tea and coffee, catering options, and WiFi access. Check our availability to hold your required date and time. We’re located in Queensway, so your clients and colleagues can easily commute to the space via public transport, car, or bike.

Want to check out our premises? Pop in for rejuvenating, aromatic coffee in our stylish Saloon — no booking necessary. For more musings on all things business, meetings and venues, take a look at our blog.