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Group Practices: Place | Space
Aesthetics of a Place or Space
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Many of the buildings and rooms in which groups gather were designed to be utilitarian, with practical considerations taking precedence over aesthetic ones. Yet, the evidence connecting certain characteristics of place with the occurrence of collective resonance is strong enough for those with a choice about where their groups meet, work, live and play to consider the effect the space in which group activities take place. Below are some examples of group practices related to making a gathering space more conducive to the creation of collective resonance.

Large Meetings, Conferences, Presentations. Many of these occur in hotel or rented conference rooms where seating is arranged "auditorium style" to fit the largest number of people in the smallest square footage. Unfortunately, the arrangement does not connect listeners with each other. Depending on the size of the group, other configurations could be suggested. Perhaps chairs can be arranged in a large U or several nesting U's. Perhaps the room can be arranged as if a meal was going to be served, with listeners gathered around tables. At a conference on the subject of Women~Business~Spirituality, the organizers had to stick with auditorium style seating due to the large attendance. However, they arranged for narrow, long tables to be positioned in front of each row of chairs. Attendees could return from a break to place their coffee cups and cookies on the table, or take notes and have a place to set down their pens. This detail provided a sense of being cared for rather than being lectured to, and attendees commented on the sense of connection they felt with presenters and other attendees.

Offices and Work Places In many workplaces, individuals are even restricted in the extent to which they can personalize or modify their environment. One alternative is for the group to jointly have some choice, perhaps choosing furnishings or colors when a renovation is planned, or adding objects that have meaning or serve a purpose. At a nursing station in a hospital, a nurse tacked a picture of her new puppy on the bulletin board behind the desk. Soon it became a collecting place for photos of the staff's pets, as other people came by and asked if they could add a photo. Patients arriving for surgery and their families often connected with the hospital staff by telling stories of their own pets, and the images themselves conveyed the healing power of the unconditional love our animal companions offer us.

Nature Four people out of the 34 interviewed for the Group Magic dissertation mentioned a natural scene as the backdrop for resonance and a contributing factor to the shift made by the group. Be creative with opportunities to use the power of Nature in facilitating a shift into resonance. Choose a location for a team off-site that has a view of mountains or ocean, or a place where the group can walk together or sit in a grassy meadow. If you are giving a presentation in the middle of a city, download beautiful scenes of nature onto your laptop and project one of them on the screen when your PowerPoint is finished and the group is discussing it.

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