The 'Feng Shui' of Conference Rooms
The ancient art of feng shui is said to bring balance to a room and to aid the flow of ‘chi’, or ‘life force’ around it. Simply by knowing where to position furniture and other objects in the room, you can enhance your positive energy and thus improve productivity and spark inspiration. Whether or not you believe in the notion of feng shui, there is a lot to be said for planning the layout of your room, both in your own office and at a conference venue. Making the most of the space you have available to you can help streamline the day’s logistics and help your delegates feel comfortable and ready to work.
Declutter for the win
Clutter is your worst nightmare when it comes to feng shui. Too many obstacles will prevent positive energy from flowing freely around the room. They could also prevent your delegates from doing the same, i.e. piles of boxes, trailing flexes and badly-placed banners and stands could cause people to trip and will make the room look overfull and disorganised. Less is more – think about what you really need to bring with you to your event and find out where you can store anything not immediately required.
You may not have total freedom to rearrange all the furniture in a conference room, but you should still be able to make changes to improve energy flow. Much is made about the position of desks in an office setting – the further you sit from the entrance, the more power you are perceived to have. Sitting with your back to the door will stop you seeing approaching trouble. Placing conference seats so that they face the door will also help create an open, welcoming vibe, as will having speakers facing delegates, rather than sitting with their backs to them while awaiting their turn on the podium. If you are planning a debating session, try to avoid placing seats directly facing each other – setting chairs at a slight angle instead will reduce the possibility of conflict or intimidation.
Everyone enjoys being surrounded by colours that inspire creativity and productivity, yet bold isn’t always the most beautiful. Think about the kind of event you are organising – if it is intended to be a vibrant, lively, interactive forum, choose brightly coloured accessories, wall hangings and conference materials. Muted tones suit serious events or those with harder messages to convey. A major component of feng shui is a careful mix of all four elements, namely fire, earth, water and air to balance the room. This can be achieved by incorporating associated colours and materials, e.g. light reflecting metals, earthy plants and plenty of water jugs and glasses.
The wonder of nature
Plants generate oxygen and are beautiful to look at, bringing a small piece of the great outdoors inside the conference room. As well as purifying the air by producing oxygen and removing toxins, they can provide an interesting talking point during breaks and could even inspire discussion topics. Plants fitting the feng shui ideal include lady palm and bamboo palm, which are both easy to care for and lovely to look at with their soft fronds. Another tactile option is the rubber plant with its shiny leaves or the peace lily with its white blooms.