Not sure where I learned this originally, but it’s a great, simple tactic for meetings where you’re voicing a position contrary to someone else’s: never sit across from them.
Try sitting next to, or at least on the same side of the table as, whoever might be an adversary. The arrangement makes it so much harder to employ confrontational body language. Instead, you’re likely forced to discuss your differences rather than posturing about them.
And while we’re at it, here’s one more idea for arranging seating: if there are going to be two or more distinct “teams” represented in a meeting, consciously keep them from sitting in groups. Forcing group members to intermingle helps break up confrontational group body language.
These two tactics may sound silly, but I’ve seen them work too many times to not try and carry them out in every situation where they’re appropriate.
So come sit over here by me!
Mike Brown is an award-winning marketer and strategist with extensive experience in research, strategy, branding, and sponsorship marketing. He’s a frequent keynote presenter on innovation and authors Brainzooming!