Location. Location. Location. 

How many times have you walked into a meeting, taken a look at the ominous empty chairs around the conference table and thought to yourself, “Where the f**k am I supposed to sit?” Nothing like a moment like this to take you right back to middle school lunch. It really took me being in the exact situation to pique my interest enough to do a little research behind the psychology of said seating arrangements.

The first thing you need to do? Decide on the type of impact you want to make in the meeting. Choose your role. Are you running the meeting? Are you supporting the meeting flow? Or would you like to simply blend in because you had one too many dirty martinis at the company happy hour on Thursday and the trash can is looking like a snack? Either which way, your role is basically determined by your seating choice. So let’s get down to it. 

The Head of the Table- Power Move

This person is running the meeting which is usually reserved for the Bo$$ or decision maker. This individual is in charge of the tempo of the meeting. They keep the agenda flowing and make sure decisions are made effectively and efficiently without diverting from the topic at hand. This is the best seat in the house as it has a clear view of the entire room which is quintessential in controlling the room. Eye contact, people. 

The “Right Hand Man”- 2nd in Command

This individual has influence in a way that they are the closest to the Bo$$. Their thoughts or input is heard more clearly just purely due to the fact that they are sitting closest to the person with the most say. Most of the time this person’s job is to speed up, slow down and make sure all aspects of the agenda are discussed. I like to think of this person as the supporting actress. 

Everybody in Between- The Placeholders 

The farthest you get away from the power, the more you look like you don’t want to be there. Normally the seats in the back or in your case, in the middle, are left for the late comers or the disinterested. My advice to you? Try harder. 

So it all boils down to this: the closer you are to the power source, the more you are likely to be heard and get your point across. It’s like gravitational pull. Just don’t be that hungover person trying to blend in. In the words of Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls, “you can’t sit with us.” 

Written by Kristin DeBias