Did you know you can rent out a meeting room at many of the world’s coworking spaces? These gathering places are a growing alternative for offsite sessions and offer many benefits to event organizers and participants.

Coworking spaces are shared workspaces where you can rent a desk to work from on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They are highly flexible, which means you can just drop in and book a meeting room without much notice, even if you haven’t used a space before.

You’ll get access to a range of amenities (from free coffee to printers) and most spaces are kitted out with cutting edge technology so you can plug and meet without a lot of set up. Also, high-speed Wi-Fi is the lifeblood of many coworking spaces, so you shouldn’t have to worry about connectivity issues.

Coworking spaces are diverse in their nature and layouts. Some offer more professional environments, others have a more relaxed vibe. Some target specific industries, others open their doors to anyone with a laptop. There are plenty to choose from. If you haven’t used one before, here are some answers to questions many people have about the trend.

1. Do you need to be a member to use a space?

Most spaces let non-members book a meeting room on an ad hoc basis, but make sure you double check. Also, members can usually use meeting rooms for free so, if you are intending to use the facilities on a regular basis, it may make sense to sign up as a member.

2. What do you get in the room?

Larger coworking spaces will have a range of meeting rooms for you to choose from. Some will be crammed full of the latest gear, others may be tech-free havens where all you get is a whiteboard and a limitless supply of coffee. Call in advance to make sure the space is ready for your particular flavor of meeting.

3. What facilities do you need/want outside of the meeting room?

Do you want access to the space’s kitchen? Or its photocopier? Make sure you check exactly what’s included when you book a meeting room. Also, ask if there are any restrictions on how you can use the wider space if you are a non-member.

You could also ask to work from the space for the day. Most spaces will offer you a complimentary day pass. This will help you find your bearings and set up your meeting space with plenty of time to spare.

4. What happens if your meeting runs over?

Most coworking spaces will give you a small amount of grace if you do run over. Also, ask if a space has breakout areas that you can access and where you can carry on talking after your slot has finished, if required.

5. Who uses the space?

A coworking space isn’t just a great venue for a meeting, it’s a networking goldmine. Some spaces have permanent residents (including growing startups and established small businesses) and may also target a specific demographic.

The Farm’s Coworking Space in NYC, for example, specializes in the healthcare and technology sectors. Its founder, Lucas Seyhun, said: “If an event organizer would like to connect with a specific member then we can help facilitate this. We also work with and know a lot of tech and healthcare businesses in the NYC region, so it’s always a good idea to ask our community manager if you have something, or someone, specific in mind.”

6. Can I speak to the community manager?

If you’re interested in using a space for a meeting, then call its community manager to get the inside scoop on what the venue is really like and how you can use it to your advantage.

Coworking spaces are inherently flexible and collaborative in their nature. As such, they are well practiced at working with professionals to help them build their business and connections within their communities. Make sure you capitalize on this point to really make your meeting stand out from the crowd.

Gemma Church is “the freelance writer who gets tech”, a specialist journalist, copywriter and blogger for the science and technology sectors. Her USP is that she’s worked in the industries she writes about, bringing a unique level of insight and experience that most writers cannot offer.