Light and colour
We have been banging on about the importance of natural daylight for years but almost as important is the colours of light you can use to establish the ideal tone for your agenda:
Blue will establish an air of confidence, reliability, competence and productivity
Red symbolises power whilst evoking friendly and lively emotions at the same time
Yellow signifies optimism and energy, stimulating happiness and positive communication
Green is a restful colour, relieving stress and sparking creativity
White encourages an open mind, allowing ideas and fresh approaches to be explored
Aromas and scents
Using scented candles can create particular responses – lavender is comforting and soothing, citrus scents are uplifting and alleviate stress, vanilla and cinnamon are invigorating and aid creativity, whilst lilac encourages decision making. Blends of different essences are powerful mood enhancers and can be used to good effect in a meeting room.
Sounds and music
Far from distracting (provided that the volume is thoughtfully set), background music can help to set the atmosphere of a room. Changing up the soundtrack or volume setting for breaks or to change the energy level is also a great way to stimulate your audience.
Harmony and balance
Eastern ideas that have developed over more than 3 millennia may seem odd-ball to western thinking but there are some important lessons to be learned from disciplines such as Feng Shui and the balance of Yin and Yang.
Clear clutter and organise – When you clear clutter you bring in vital energy that will help you with mental clarity, focus, and inspiration. Feeling organised has a profound impact on emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Use appropriate imagery – Choose artwork for presentations and images to pin up that stimulate and inspire. Surround yourselves with items that stimulate creativity. Include plants, flowers and articles that speak to you of prosperity, abundance and success.
Bring balance by including both Yin and Yang elements – compliment bright natural light with soft colours, hard and angular surfaces and furniture with flowing shapes and soft furnishing.
Play and creativity
It is widely understood that our minds seek constant stimulation. We find it very hard to concentrate for any length of time, especially when being spoken at. Experiential learning is ingrained from our earliest development. Often characterised as play, some of the most powerful personal and group development is achieved when people have fun.
Mix traditional presentations with group work, play acting, role playing, games and team building activities. Get your audience out of their chairs, go outside, be invigorated and exercised. Keep the blood flowing and laughter coming. If it’s a classroom situation allow participants to keep their hands occupied, give them pipe cleaners to fiddle with for instance.
Right now at Sundial we are having fun experimenting with these ideas. We are establishing a meeting laboratory and encouraging our guests to try out ideas so that we can learn how best to upgrade and develop the meeting environments we provide. Please contact us with your thoughts and ideas and to find out more about trying out our meeting spaces and settings.
Martin Fullard is the Deputy Editor at Conference News. Formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.
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