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What was that you said?

At times straightforward and up-front, at others modest and demure; sometimes distant and aloof, but on occasion flashy and flamboyant. As a designer of meetings, I listen to the messages expressed by buildings. What buildings say is important because it influences the behaviours of meeting participants. And in turn, those behaviours can make meetings more or less successful.

有時簡單直接,有時莊重拘謹,有時若即若離,有時浮華張揚。作為會議設計師(Meeting Designer),我會聆聽建築物所傳達出的訊息。建築物的訊息很是重要,是因為它影響與會者的行為。反過來,這些行為將影響會議的成功與否。

Let’s take a powerful building, the Palace of the Doge in Venice, for instance. When stepping inside the vast Council Room, people instantly change what they were doing before: they slow down, lower their voices, take their children by the hand – like when you enter a church, although the ceiling is that high. Very clearly, certain things are not done in there: children don’t run across the Council Room and it’s not the place for a passionate French-kissing session with your lover. Why not? What makes us so aware of what is appropriate and what is not?

讓我們用威尼斯的總督宮為例,一座本身就很有力量的建築物。當一踏入廣闊的安理會房間裡,人們便會立即改變他們的動作:慢下來,降低聲音,用手拉著孩子;就像進入教堂一樣,雖然天花板那麼高。很明顯的,在這個房間中有些事情是不能做的,像是:孩子不會跑來跑去,不是適合與情人來一場法式熱吻的地方。 為什麼呢?是什麼讓我們暗自決定什麼適合、什麼不適合呢?

Palace of Doge, Venice

I don’t know the exact mechanism but without any doubt it is connected to our receptiveness to the signals we pick up from our surroundings. In our heads, these signals are directly forwarded to a kind of toggle for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. For my work I am not so much interested in understanding the mechanism in detail but rather in the phenomenon as such.


The point is that virtually all meetings are held in buildings and it is my experience that buildings speak to people. Not only to people who are willing to listen, but to everyone. What they say is called the Venue Message. Usually, the building invites you to do something; it exudes an assignment. The message sounds like a sentence taken from a theatre dialogue and you, the visitor, respond to the signal, to the stimulus. Without consciously noticing it. Thus, the Council Room in the Palace of the Doge in Venice says: “be humble in the sight of the wealth I have gathered in many centuries!” Anybody with half a bit of common sense simply “gets” that message and literally incorporates it with due respect.

關鍵是,幾乎所有的會議都在建築物內舉行,就我的經驗,建築的確跟人說話。它不僅對那些願意聆聽的人說話,它說話的對象是所有的與會者。這就被稱為場地訊息 (Venue Message)。一般情況下,建築物會請你做一些事情,它會發出一個任務的訊息。這個訊息就像戲劇的對話,而你,作為參觀者,會對此信號做出回應,在無意識的情況下就會發生了。因此,總督宮裡的安理會房間正在說:「保持謙卑!在視力所及的範圍內,盡是我幾世紀以來獲取的財富!」任何人只要有半點常識就能“獲取”此信號,並真的給予應有的尊重。

And due respect and French-kissing don’t go together.


Origin by Mike, mindmeeting


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