There are things we can control and other things we can’t. Once you are in a certain environment, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to change the environment. However, in most cases, you have much more control over the selection of the environment.
As an example, last night I went to dinner at a restaurant that every Thursday evening has live music in the lounge area. The music is very appropriate for this particular restaurant, not too loud or too soft. One of the patrons, who asked for a specific table in the dining area requested that the server speak to all of the people in the lounge area, and the musician, to make less noise. This patron does not have the ability to control the noise in the lounge area but did have the ability to request a table further from the lounge or to go to a different establishment. Rather than trying to change the environment, this patron should have chosen a different environment.
In a business meeting, if you are hoping to have two groups come to an agreement that will benefit both sides, don’t sit at a conference table with one group on one side of the table and the other group on the other side. Having the table in between the two sides establishes a divide that makes it more difficult to come to an agreement. Either, choose a room without this type of conference table or make sure the groups are mixed so some are sitting next to each other as opposed to opposite each other.
If you are looking to have a quick meeting, choosing a room with refreshments and ultra comfortable chairs is not a good decision.
If you want to have a discussion amongst equals, having one person sitting at a higher level is not a good decision.
Too often, we spend too much time planning what we want to be accomplished with an opportunity and not enough time selecting the optimal environment to get this accomplished.
Have a great day!