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Deciding Where to Sit

You enter a room to attend a meeting. Two seats are empty. One would put you on the same side of the table as your opponents and your boss. The other would put you across from them. Which do you head for?

Suggestions:

Think opposite. The power positions are opposite your competition or chief decision maker. Don’t sit on the same side of the table or next to someone you want to influence. Reasons: You can’t make appropriate eye contact. You also nullify the benefit of facial and hand gestures. It doesn’t matter if the table is square, rectangular, oval, or round. Sit opposite.

Consider table "weight." If there’s too much contention on one side of the table — you and your opponent — table weight is unbalanced. The meeting leader may silence your side of the table just to get the other side involved. In addition, you may lose some opportunities to press your points.