The body thinks in metaphor, as scientists are now discovering. And that suggests all kinds of fantastic opportunities to make workshops, seminars and meetings much more fun and effective.

Here’s an idea that may be familiar if you work in an Agile software development environment: take the chairs away. The fact that people literally stand up in a “daily stand-up” meeting gives their bodies the hint that this is intended to be a short, sharp, purposeful update, not an opportunity to relax and tell – or listen to – stories.

If you want people to do “big picture” thinking, ideally take them somewhere high up, where they have a view of the sky and perhaps even the sea. Somewhere their bodies will realise that “the sky’s the limit”.

Failing that, give them a “picture” window… a high ceiling… or a huge whiteboard with coloured markers and post-it notes (metaphorical cues to suggest that this is a “playshop” rather than a “workshop”).

For detailed planning, windowless offices with low ceilings work well (that’s good news for London’s hoteliers!).

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