Where should you speak from in a meeting?

One of the major complaints I hear about Zoom meetings is that they can be quite confrontational. A bit like constantly attending a panel interview where you are eyeballing, and being eyeballed, by everyone in the room (including yourself)!

However, the benefits of Zoom include things such as being able to see everyone at the table and easily breaking out into smaller groups so that you get everyone’s input. And, most importantly as a speaker, everyone can see you!

As we move back into having more face-to-face meetings you may notice that where you sit is having an effect on how well you’re heard. In an actual room, sitting at a table, your position can have a huge impact on how often you get to speak and who really listens to you. For example …

  • If the table is long and thin and you aren’t at an end, then those to your side won’t be able to get eye contact (and won’t hear what you have to say).
  • If sitting directly opposite the chairman, they may expect you to have a lot to contribute but opposite the chairman and to the side, it’s easy to be excluded from the conversation by the shoulders of the person beside you.
  • If you are sitting in front of a window when you start to speak you may appear as a silhouette to those on the other side of the room.

And if there is no table … don’t choose the comfy chair or sofa! It is really hard to look like someone with authority when you are lower than others or you can’t easily get up.

Choose your seat with care, according to whether you want to be seen and heard … or not!

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One Response to Where should you speak from in a meeting?

  1. Peter Henry 9th September 2021 at 11:21 am #

    All good stuff, the point about the silhouette is even more important in zoom meetings as cameras emphasise the contrast between light and dark!

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