Feng Shui for Better Event Flow
Want to become a better meeting planner? I have four friends I’d like you to meet: Phoenix, Tiger, Dragon and Turtle.
They’re the four companion/energy guides that can help even the undercaffeinated more effectively navigate this physical realm with the help of the ancient Chinese art of harmonious placement known as feng shui (fung shoy).
As a longtime feng shui enthusiast, I assure you there’s absolutely nothing woo-woo about this ancient tool unless you want to bring an entire canon of bad kung fu movies into the mix. At the level most meeting planners can easily access it, feng shui is no more mysterious than seating the CEO at the head of the conference table, the IT guy near the drymark board – or themselves near the entrance, the better to fend against interruptions and attend to the unexpected. It just makes the physical planning more intuitive, and with practice, obvious.
Each animal represents an energy in your feng shui view finder. Here’s the lineup:
Your phoenix, representing your vista and forward movement, is always in front of you, facing forward. The tiger, which represents condensing energy and your tools at hand, is always low at your right-hand side. The dragon, which represents expanding energy and your hopes and dreams, is always high up and to your left, and the turtle, with its protective shell, always has your back. If you happened to catch the 2001 Ang Lee martial arts film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the title references two aspects of the feng shui view finder.
How do you use it? Pretty easy, really. Each room has a distinct orientation that presents a unique mix of choices for the optimal flow of energy for conversation, presentation, entertaining, etc. How you arrange the space can have a major impact on the outcome.
In general, we are all most comfortable when our back is protected (turtle), our vision is unobstructed (phoenix), we have a physical placeholder (table, chair, etc.) at our right that represents our tools (tiger) and some upper-left visual lift to dream with (dragon). Because energy flows into each room through its doorway, we feel uneasy sitting in that direct path, just as mom used to warn against sitting in a draft.
For an example of prime comfort, think of Steve Jobs’ iconic Apple product unveilings with that huge screen behind him and nothing but space in front of him. To the other extreme, we punish unruly children by making them sit alone in a corner, essentially depriving them of all four animals.
Whether the room at hand is a conference room, a lobby, a hotel guest room, a restaurant, or your office, follow the advice of that sage feng shui master Don Corleone and sit with your back to the wall and away from the direct energy rush from the door. If you want everyone’s attention, maximize their phoenix. If you want their contribution, maximize their tiger and dragon. And if you want their applause, maximize all four.
Keeping your feng shui team in mind, you’ll soon find yourself gravitating to better meeting spaces, better seating arrangements for your guests, better outcomes as a result and even a better night’s sleep on the road.
Tip: To further improve your health, wealth and appreciation for the importance of placement, treat yourself to a copy of London feng shui master Lam Kam Chuen’s “The Personal Feng Shui Manual: How to Develop a Healthy and Harmonious Lifestyle” from Holt Books.
Photo credits: Shutterstock