Does It Matter Where You Sit During a Meeting? It Sure Does!

IT employees are small in number, but their work has a significant impact on their organization. The decisions you and your team make during meetings will affect your entire company. You can control how much say you have at your staff gatherings by simply choosing the right seat in the room.

First, you need to decide what you want your role to be at these meetings. Do you want to influence your boss, or do you want to go unnoticed? Are you looking to be vocal, or is your goal to gain standing without having to say much? You can decide to focus on one angle for all of your company meetings, or you can alternate roles from one meeting to the next.

To play your cards right, you need to understand how the seating works and how choosing the right seat can have a positive effect on your boss’s attitude towards you:

The Head of the Table

The head of the table always belongs to the boss or whoever is leading the meeting. At times, your department head might decide to stand during a meeting or sit somewhere in the middle of the table. However, it’s still not a good idea to take the seat at the head. It will make you look like someone desperate for power, and your supervisor will subconsciously view it as a challenge to their authority.

The Seat Next to Your Boss

If you want to influence a meeting and have a say on major decisions, the best place to sit is right next to the head. When you’re within someone’s reach, they automatically notice and pay attention to you. Without being too vocal, they will take your opinions into consideration.

However, this seat shouldn’t be taken too lightly either. If you mess up and say something your boss doesn’t like, that will have more meaning to your manager as well. If you choose to sit next to your boss, be sure to prepare for the responsibility that comes along with it.

Should You Sit to the Left or the Right of Your Boss?

Believe it or not, it makes a difference on which side of your supervisor you choose to sit. Joan Raymond, former teacher, principal, and superintendent, says, “One study found that teachers kind of ignore students who sit to their right, and students who sit to the left generally perform better and are called on more. The same holds true in business: Research shows more deals are made when you sit to the left of a potential client.”

Before the meeting, think about how much of the team leader’s attention you want. If you’re looking for a lot of say, sit to the left of the head. If you want your opinion to count but don’t want to overdo it, choose the seat to their right.

The Power Seat

One of the choicest spots in the room is the seat where everyone who walks into the room makes eye contact with you. The position is different in every conference room – depending on the location of the door and where the table is situated. Once people notice you at the beginning of the meeting, you will automatically be on their mind, and when you speak up, there’s a better chance of them paying attention to what you have to say.

Sitting Directly Opposite Your Boss

The contrarian in the room usually sits directly across from the team leader. It’s a perfect spot for the person who doesn’t always agree with how the group operates and wants change. That doesn’t mean that you should never sit there, but it does mean that your manager will be looking directly at you for a large portion of the meeting.

You should choose to sit at the other head of the table if you:

  • Feel that it’s a suitable time to speak up about some of your team’s methods and opinions
  • Have opposing views that you think your boss will be receptive to
  • Want to gain favor by taking the seat and being agreeable with what your manager has to say

If you’re there to make your boss feel good, you will be noticed and will have an easy time accomplishing your goal. If you’re there in opposition, be prepared to support your positions because, in all likelihood, they will be taken seriously.

Sitting in Middle of the Table

If you want to coast through a meeting without being too involved, you’re best off choosing a seat somewhere in the middle. Some people sit in the middle because they’re having a rough day, and they don’t want to say much, while others sit there because they’re more or less happy with what’s going on in the company, and they trust their team’s decisions.

The problem with the middle is that if you do decide that you want to be heard at some point, it won’t be easy. You will have to be vocal and express your thoughts clearly. Also, try to lean in, raise your hand, and make eye contact with your boss before you speak. Otherwise, whatever you say might end up being an afterthought in everyone’s mind.

Choosing Who to Sit Next To

Who you sit next to is almost as important as where you sit. Your supervisor and the others in the room will associate you with the people to your left and right. If you sit next to a rabble-rouser, it will have a negative impact on how others view you, and vice versa.

The beauty of this concept is that you can, at times, gain standing with your team by association. If you come to a meeting and you’re not in the mood of participating, sit next to the person everyone respects most, and nod and smile when they speak their mind. The others will perceive you as the popular person’s sidekick and will respect you even if you’re pretty much quiet for the duration of the meeting.

Learn More About Where You Should Sit During a Meeting

Choosing the right seat might not seem like a big deal at first, but when you think about it, it could make a difference in your career and your colleagues’ perception of you. It’s worth it for you to analyze who attends your meetings, their personalities, where they usually sit, and how you can use the seating arrangement to your advantage.

Check out our IT Help page at https://www.zeriva.com/it-tips/ for more useful tips and information for IT managers and professionals.

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