. How British Meetings Differ from American Ones | Northstar Meetings Group

How British Meetings Differ from American Ones

10 terms to remember when hosting an event across the pond.

Etc.venues Lexington Avenue

Etc.venues, a London-based conference and events company, is preparing to take its services to the U.S. market. Three New York locations are expected, the first of which will open at 360 Madison Avenue in early January 2020. Another conference center at 601 Lexington Avenue will debut in March 2021. The third site in downtown Manhattan has yet to be announced.

Earlier this year, Alastair Stewart, managing director of Etc. Venues, spoke with Norhtstar about their then-upcoming expansion into the United States. Read it here.

"We feel that there's potential in New York," said Adam Simpson, director of marketing and U.S. sales at Etc.venues. "Our clients asked us to come over. They said, 'We've been using the same properties and the same hotels for many, many years and we want an alternative.'"

Ahead of the company's American debut, Simpson discussed some of the differences between meetings in the United Kingdom and the United States. Below is a glossary of 10 terms to keep in mind when planning an event across the pond.

1. Delegates

Rather than "attendees," the Brits refer to guests as "delegates." Etc.venues, for example, has hosted nearly 900,000 delegates at more than 18,000 events in the U.K. over the past year.

2. Lift

To get up to the 14th floor of the Lexington Avenue venue in the Big Apple, you'll have to use the elevator. Those attending a meeting at one of Etc.venues’ 17 England locations, however, will be riding the lift. 

3. Tube

Public transport also goes by a different name in England. Rather than riding the subway to a conference, delegates will take the tube.

4. Meters

Meeting planners should keep in mind that metrics vary abroad. Event spaces in the U.K. are measured by square meters rather than square feet. You’ll have to do some conversions to make sure the venue can accommodate your needs and be sure to double check that the numbers are right before signing any contracts. Multiply square meters by 10.8 to get square footage.

5. Poseur Table

Commonly referred to as “highboys” in the U.S., these tables are perfect for setting up a networking and refreshments area at a meeting.

6. Lectern

Conference speakers will use a lectern to give a presentation in Great Britain. Americans are more likely to call this a podium.

7. Galleria

In England, the lobby or foyer area of an event venue where guests can check in and mingle is referred to as a “galleria.”

8. WC

Similarly, bathrooms are called water closets in England. So if can’t find the loo while in London, look out for a “WC” sign in one of the hallways.

9. Coffee Point

For a morning cup of joe, an American will go to the coffee station. Brits, however, will head to the coffee point, where there will also likely be a wide selection of teas for delegates to choose from.

10. Brainwave

A sudden idea that strikes mid-meeting (perhaps after the coffee sets in) is dubbed a “brainwave” in the U.K. Americans would call this brainstorming.