Jeff Hurt is EVP, Education & Engagement, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting...

When you’re on the show floor, as an attendee, any action by an exhibit staff member affects the way you interact with their exhibit. Everything from aggressiveness to spatial characteristics, we all have the chance to improve and manipulate how our attendees interact with us.

In order to foster specific behaviors and attitudes, you first must identify six properties as defined by Make Space and use them to alter a mood or action.

Here are the six concepts:

1. Posture- It defines the position of an attendee’s body during an activity. It includes a wide spectrum of individual engagement from reflective to action.

For Example:
• A reclined or seated posture suggests a reflective, relaxed and passive engagement.
• An upright or standing position indicates active engagement and participation.

2. Orientation-
The relative position of people and things. It’s easy to manipulate because it usually requires adjusting the direction in which people are sitting or standing. Also, it’s the main way to direct visual attention and nurture human connections within the experience.

For Example:
• Singular orientation directs all attention on a single person, such as the speaker or television.
• Multifaceted orientation supports that all things are equal, such as a group sitting in a circle.

3. Surface- The flat plane that attendees work on such as flip charts, tables, walls or floors.

For Example:
• Horizontal surfaces support individual activity. This relates to a person’s private experience and is facilitated with desks, laptops, Smartphones and tablets.
• Vertical surfaces emphasize work for groups and collective visibility.

4. Ambiance- The character and atmosphere of a space that embodies the features of the environment like color, lighting, smells, sounds and textures.

For Example:
• For relaxed spaces, use plush seating, warm or dark colors, soft music and a variety of lights.
• For active spaces, use bright light, upbeat music, saturated colors and open windows.

5. Density-
The degree that people and things are compacted into a space. Tweaking it allows you to influence attendees’ impressions and control the energy level of a space.

For Example:
• Sparse environments allow attendees to freely move about and encourage reflection.
• Concentrated spaces connect people more closely within a cozier environment.

6. Storage- It’s about accessibility of artifacts, social objects and information. Storage ranges from protected, (only accessible to those that know its secrets), to available, (out in the open and easily shared). This is an important issue for digital and physical resources.

For Example:
• The ability to store things in a space directly connects to how that space is experienced.
• Creating collaborative environments where materials are easily accessible and available requires a place to store those materials.

These six properties can encourage or discourage specific behaviors and moods. They relate to not only the space, but the positions of people and items within that space. These spatial characteristics can be fine tuned to create a unique attendee experience. And it all rests within the power of your planning.

How does density affect the ambiance and posture of your conference attendees? Which of these six properties will be the easiest or most difficult for you to use at your next conference and why? Share your thoughts with GES’ LinkedIn group!

Blog via Velvet Chainsaw's Midcourse Corrections.