Have you thought about where you sit at a meeting? Many people will walk into a meeting and sit on the nearest available chair. You may find it interesting to know that there are there are four “power positions” that can influence a meeting. This is most pronounced around a rectangular meeting room table.
The head of the table. The person that chooses a chair “at the head of the table” is in the prime position to “Chair” or facilitate the meeting. From this position you have a clear view around the table you can easily lead and control discussion around the table.
At the other end. Opposite the leader is the second most powerful position. Both ends of the table provide good visibility around the table. This may be a good spot for an opposing view or a guest at the meeting who only requires to appear for a short span of time.
To the right and left hand of the chair. Individuals sitting in these positions are able to support, and provide information to the leader at the top of the table. Traditionally, the ‘right hand is the second in command while the left hand is strong contender.
Taking the middle road. If the top ends of the table are taken, seating yourself in the middle is good if you do not want to stand out or you are not familiar with the group. This is a buffer position between the two ends of the table.
If there are no seats placed at either the top or bottom end of the table the centre seats take on prime positions with the best view around the table. Here the weakest positions would be the seats at the far ends of the table.
The next time you attend a meeting pay attention to where you are seated and you may find it interesting to see the choice of seats chosen knowingly or unknowingly by others present.