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Focus Five Consulting - High Performance Communication

Where should you sit?

As a business coach and meeting facilitator, whenever I led a meeting or worked with a team, I always sat at the head of the table.  If the table was round, it didn’t matter where I sat.  One particular team met at a table that had room for fourteen people, but there were only 10 team members.  I noticed that I was often at the head of the table – all by myself! The meetings always went well and a lot was accomplished.  So I was pleased.

During a workshop I attended that was lead by Patti Wood, an expert in body language, she suggested that the ‘leader’ should not sit at the head of the table.  She said that the dynamics of the meeting will change when the leader sits at the table as part of the team.

At my next team coaching meeting, I very deliberately changed my position and sat at one side of the table.  As people came into the room, they clustered toward the part of the table that I was at and people sat on both sides of me – a definite change, immediately!  During the meeting, I didn’t notice any real change in the team dynamics, until someone spoke – someone who had always been silent and had never uttered a word during the 6 previous meetings!  Talk about a change in team dynamics! His contribution was really valuable and resulted in a new piece being added to the process the team was working on.

Needless to say, I’ve never sat at the head of the table again.

What do you think about this suggestion?

If you are a director, manager, CEO or leader of any kind, and you use this suggestion, I’d like to know if you notice any changes in your meetings.

‘Til next time…

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