YOUR POSITION AT THE BOARDROOM TABLE

You enter the conference room for an important meeting, and you need to pick a seat. Which one do you choose? Should you sit at the head of the table? Should you choose a seat at the back?

Your choice in seat at the boardroom table is actually quite important to how you are perceived during the meeting.

Here are some tips for choosing the best seat in the house – or at least the best seat in the boardroom.

HEAD OF THE TABLE

In a typical boardroom meeting setup, the main seat is normally at the head of the table in the position furthest away from the door.

WHAT DOES SITTING AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE MEAN?

The head of the boardroom table is seen as a position of power. This seat is generally reserved for the person leading the meeting or the most senior person in the room.

THE SUPPORTERS

To the left and right of this key seat are two key seats – generally these two ‘flanking positions’ are taken by people supporting the meeting leader or boss. These two seats allow you to get a private word in with the boss.

THE OPPOSER

The seat on the opposite end of the boardroom table is often taken up by a person with an opposing view to the person leading the meeting. It’s a good seat to take if you plan to stand in opposition to the boss and want your opinion heard. If two people are running a meeting together, it’s often a good idea to have them sit on opposite ends of the boardroom table so that they can present in an inclusive way with information coming from both sides of the table.

THE MIDDLE

The other seats around the boardroom table provide good general seating, but it will be harder to maintain eye contact with the main speaker and have your views heard.

THE SIDE-LINES

Seats right at the back of the room, not around the table are probably the worst seats to sit in if you want to be involved in the meeting. If you are only there to observe or need to sneak out early, these are the seats to take.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE AVAILABLE SEATS

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SIT IN A MEETING?

When considering boardroom seating arrangements, decide on your intentions for the meeting.

If you want to stand out during a meeting or have some important points to make, it makes sense to sit as close to the main seat at the head of the boardroom table as possible. Sitting as close as possible to the boss or leader puts you in a supportive position.

Alternatively, take a challenging role in the meeting by sitting on the opposite side of the table.

If you are attending the meeting to observe and don’t want to be called upon, sitting in the middle seats, or better still, at the back of the room near the door would be your best bet. You may know going into a meeting that you’ll have to leave early or will need to take an important call. In this case, the seats nearest the door are much less disruptive and are perfect for making a quick getaway.

If you want to network and get to know other people attending the meeting, it’s a good idea to take a seat facing the door so that you can greet everyone who walks in.

Next time you enter a meeting room, don’t just grab the first available seat. Instead, take some time to consider which position will suit your needs.