Archive for February, 2012

Musings on The Right Ambiance…for Love and Meetings
February 13, 2012

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day you just might be thinking that special meal with your sweetheart will not be at the local diner, but a setting where the food is good, the lights are low, the music soothing, the ambiance encouraging to look into each other’s eyes and have intimate conversation.

In similar fashion, creating the right ambiance for a meeting when the goal is the exchange of information and ideas, is critically important. I’ve written and spoken about this at length over the years –it seems to be a topic of frequent interest among my colleagues and clients– so I will highlight 5 Top Tips for designing creative meeting spaces here, and offer another 5 in my next post.

  1. The power of the circle: set the room up for eye contact and democracy. A circle (like a campfire) or a U-Shape arrangement of chairs immediately signals a more intimate setting for people to be candid with each other.
  2. A room with a view…natural light supports us physically and helps prevent fatigue. And a glimpse of the outdoor world often helps to expand thinking and be more open-minded. A few years ago I ran an innovation session at an historical village with large windows on three sides of our room. We had a beautiful vista of snow-covered fields…and then a big surprise as two baby goats came right up to the windows. An unexpected source of inspiration for our project on new confectionary products!
  3. Comfortable chairs, and a variety of seating helps prevent “fanny fatigue” and keeps people more relaxed and engaged. If your meeting is longer than an hour, ask people to get up and move to another chair or couch in the room—it prevents getting stuck physically and mentally.
  4. Weave in some Music—whether you like Hip Hop or Opera, a little music interspersed through a workday can do a lot for a teams’ creativity and productivity. I like to use the music purposefully to add excitement or energy to an activity, or to help relax and put participants in a more reflective mood.
  5. Adding color and visual stimuli—whether it’s a wall full of pictures that can “inspire a thousand ideas” the ways words alone may not—or setting up colorful paper, crayons, markers and Post Its on the meeting table offers an invitation to doodle and express ideas in different modes.

Hope this offers you a little food for thought!

And have a lovely Valentine’s Day!


Laurie Tema-Lyn, Practical Imagination Enterprises, 908-237-2246,