Ever paid attention to where people decide to sit in your meeting room? Seating arrangements are usually left up to chance, but where meeting participants sit can actually influence overall meeting effectiveness.

How can you steer your rear to positively influence your meeting outcome? By choosing a seating arrangement suitable to your meeting type. Prior to your meeting, consider the number of meeters, level of interaction and meeting goals. Then, match the seating arrangements accordingly. Here are some examples:

Problem Solving


With the high-level of interaction required for group problem solving, seating must reflect equality. Equal contribution of ideas is easier when people are seated in a circular pattern. Avoid positioning someone at the head of the table or the top of the room – an indirect placement of power. Round table arrangements foster a feeling of contribution for all meeting participants.

Like presenters, the trainer needs to be visually accessible to the training participants.

Because most trainers today desire participation from class members, openness is important here too.

Set up a U-shaped arrangement to promote equality and interaction. Place visuals at the opening of the U. This configuration allows the trainer to move freely throughout the group members and work one-on-one with individuals.

Decision Making
Arriving at a specific outcome or decision is a common meeting objective. Identifying a leader who can facilitate, direct and moderate discussions will help keep the meeting focused. Choose a rectangular table or classroom-style setup with the chairs arranged in rows.

Know the personalities of the meeting participants and position them accordingly. Avoid placing two individuals with aggressive personalities next to each other. Instead, anticipate possible conflict among individuals and evenly position those individuals throughout the room.

Read meeting dilemmas solved by the Meeting Guru.



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