by Matt Zajechowski, Featured Contributor
YOU PROBABLY KNOW that your work ethic and demeanor can greatly impact your success in the business world. After all, no one wants to partner with someone who isn’t going to carry their weight, and if you’re good at connecting with people and instilling confidence, they’ll be much more likely to think of you for things like job openings, promotions, and that big new project.
But what a lot of people don’t think about is how they can impact the way others think about them simply by changing where they sit in professional situations. Read on for tips on where to sit in several different business settings to make sure you get the most out of them.
Want more tips, including where to sit when interviewing? Check out this infographic from Seats and Stools.
Business lunches. If you’re having a business lunch with a client or a connection who may be able to help you out in some way, you shouldn’t just choose any old table. The best ones for business are 4-top tables in quiet corners of the restaurant to eliminate distractions. And when you sit, choose the chair next to the other person rather than across from him or her so that the conversation can be more intimate. If you get there first, gesture for the person you’re meeting to take the seat next to you.
Brainstorming meetings. When setting up a brainstorming session, make sure you avoid inviting higher-ups who can unduly impact the conversation – ideally, you want everyone to be at roughly the same level. Ask for people to remove technology distractions and go for a round table—or no table at all– so that everyone can see each other. If you’re attending a brainstorming meeting, sit away from those with strong personalities if you want to make sure that your voice is heard.
Attending a single speaker. If you’re going to see someone speak in an auditorium-like setting, you might think that the same rules apply as when attending a movie or theatrical performance – the best seats are in the direct center of the room. However, that doesn’t fly when there’s only one person that you’re focusing on. You still want to stick to the middle of a row as much as you possibly can, but there’s no reason to hang back – get as close to the front as you’re able to. This way you’ll not only be better able to focus on the speaker, they can more easily see you and focus on you as if you were having a conversation.
Acting as a co-presenter. When presenting a project with a co-worker where you each will be leading different sections, it can be difficult to figure out how to handle the transitions. Some try to stand together, but unless you have a comfortable back-and-forth and frequently switch off, this can seem awkward as one person continually waits for the other to finish so that they can speak up. The best way to handle the transition is to sit in the front row off to the side so that you can quickly stand and take over. This should eliminate any awkwardness and still create a seamless transition.