Do you consider where to sit in a meeting? How people are seated in relation to the room and one another really sets the tone for any meeting, whether two people or a group.

In some scenarios, there is no choice. For instance, in an interview, you are often invited to take a specific seat, usually directly opposite the interviewer but when you have a choice, here are some tips to help you consider which seat is best for you to take:

  1. Sitting directly opposite is pretty confrontational, so other than a formal interview, only make this choice if you really want a very formal conversation.
  2. Sitting next to someone in a 1-2-1 meeting is slightly strange, unless you need to look at papers/a screen together.
  3. If two of you from your team/company are meeting with someone from another team/company, avoid sitting next to one another and opposite them. The only time this is really recommended is a formal pitch. For a regular meeting, sitting on 3 sides of the table (if it is fairly small) is best or if it is large table, one of you is best to sit next to the person from the other team/company.
  4. For most 1-2-1 meetings, sitting ‘across the corner’ from one another is best – it’s easy to see one another, build rapport through mirroring and create an ambience of partnership/working together.
  5. If you are the first one in the room, try to sit so you can see the door easily. That way as people come in, it is easy to give them your full attention. For more formal/client meetings, remember to stand up to greet people as they come in the room. If you are awaiting one person, try to make it obvious which chair you’d like them to take when they come in – either by gesturing or by pulling it out slightly.

Many people intuitively consider where is best to sit and sometimes you are ‘shown’ to a seat, but if you think you have less intuition and nobody is directing you, then select carefully. It isn’t rocket science but relative seating positions can affect the whole ambience of a meeting and even the outcome. Small things do make a difference!

About the author 

Joanna Gaudoin helps women and organisations achieve greater career success and improved business performance by working with them on their personal impact and relationship building. Prior to establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna Gaudoin spent 10 years in marketing and consultancy.

She now works with women one-to-one, as well as speaking and running workshops across all areas of personal impact and relationship building; including appearance, body language and voice, as well as skills and confidence for different business scenarios such as meetings and presentations. Additionally, she helps clients improve their political intelligence using a diagnostic profiling tool. To sign up for her free ‘Boost Your Personal Impact Guide’ and ‘Your Image for Success Update’, click here.

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© Joanna Gaudoin 2017

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