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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Environmental Control

Do you have an environment where people feel welcome?

You need to ensure that you put in place some environmental controls so that people do feel invited to come in and get comfortable.  For businesses, it makes a whole lot of sense.  For churches, it definitely makes sense, too.  How long will people stick around if they don't feel welcome or comfortable?  Think on it.

Setting the tone for some simple environmental controls, take a look at the senses.

Sight
What does the place look like? Beyond simply having a clean, trash-free environment, is it cramped, cluttered or comforting? Look at the aesthetics.  I am not saying go full feng shui, but you need to be sure to do something with the place.  Can you add some thematic artwork to the foyer or lobby? Is it too much to have some tapestries along the walls that display some colorful displays that speak volumes about your values? Take a look at the place and imagine how to add some creative touches that appeal to the eye.

Feel
Once people get in, is it comfortable for them to sit down? If it's a church and the pews are creaking and squeaking, imagine what it feels like to sit down there.  Think about revolutionizing your seating.  You can add some modern touches in an office building, too.  Add a couch that is soft and cozy.  Do you cater to children? Place a bean bag in your waiting area.  Throw in some games or a video console and TV like a Wii or PS3.  Please don't limit yourself to tradition.  Look at modern and contemporary touches to enhance the feel of the place.

Smell
This can be the unspoken trouble.  It may go unspoken but it certainly is noticed by many.  You want to control odors.  Have the trash taken out daily.  Vacuum the place at least every other day.  Use plants and flowers to spruce up the place along with some carefully-placed potpourri.  Don't over do it when you try to deodorize with sprays or heavy scents.  Everyone cannot take such smells.

Sounds
Is it dull in there? Add some sound over the intercom or sound system that plays faintly enough for enjoyment.  Just prior to church service, play an instrumental CD of gospel renditions.  Don't make this the time to pipe in your pastor's last sermon on fire and brimstone.  Let the sound be part of the foyer or lobby for those who may be filling out your guest book or viewing your church's literature or brochure.  If it is your office, be sure to have something playing that is not so loud that it disturbs the work of the business.  In addition, you don't want to play anything offensive.  You want people to feel comfortable and welcome, not thrown off by the sounds of Rage Against Machine or Korn blaring from within the place (That is, unless that's the type of place that you are running; i.e., skateboard or surf shop, tattoo parlor, etc.).

Taste
This one is tricky so I will travel through it lightly.  You may have a reception where you serve treats to your visitors and guests.  Sample your selections.  Ensure that your fruits and veggies are fresh.  Check dating on packages.  Review expiration dates.  Make it your business to ensure that you serve quality.  Remove what it is not good to serve.  Even the mints and candy in the receptionist's jar up front needs to be checked every so often.  Ensure that you serve food that tastes good at least, even if it isn't much.

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