In 1883, Antoni Gaudi began building a ‘church’ in Barcelona. If you aren’t aware, it’s massive. Massive. And it’s not finished. Yet. The current expected date of completion is 2026. But, as they say, we’ll see.
Still, it isn’t the time frame, or span, that intrigues me. It’s Gaudi’s architectural style: organic, natural. At every turn, Gaudi copied nature as he designed and built his masterpiece. If it’s true that everything has already been created, we’re just finding new ways to stick it all together—then, Gaudi was onto something. He went to a place where things not only work, but have stood the test of time in their working ability.
- His columns replicate the helicoid pattern of plants—plants that allow all of the leaves access to the sun and lend structural strength.
- He studied the spiral of both the snail shell and the trajectory of a ‘helicoptering’ maple seed pod to create his stairways.
- He used the geometry of crystal formulation to detail his facades, and his pinnacles mimic the tops of lavender, wheat and other grasses.
- Emulating the gravity forming catenary arch, he hung ropes with lead sacks to discover the exact curvature and load capabilities his many arches would need to have.
And this got me thinking about the architecture of a meeting. If Gaudi used nature as his guide so that his structure would stand just as well and just as strong. Why wouldn’t we use our audience as our guide so that our meetings will stand just as well, just as strong.
How do our meeting tactics, creative, strategy and production mimic nature…or more apt in our case, how does it mimic a specific part of nature: people (your audience) – their behaviors, their tendencies, their needs and actions.
Every thing should have a reason for being there – every set piece, every color, every sound. And each reason should be a direct response to and reflection of the people it hopes to reach.
- Why use a curved fabric backdrop? Because it’s easy and cheap? Because it fills the space? Not good enough. Use it because it leaves the viewer feeling calm, relaxed and not intimidated by neither or speaker standing in front of it nor the content it frames on screen.
- Why play Lady Gaga for your walk-in music? Not because it’s trendy and popular, play it because the Gaga represents individuality, strength and bold entrepreneurship—just like your brand.
- Why set your meeting stage in the round? To be cool or different? How about because your meeting needs to send your audience the message of transparency, trust and collaboration.
In essence, meeting people where they are and maximizing their natural selves, helps your meeting transform them — from their comfort zone to where you’re asking them to go.