Where To Sit In A Meeting

Do you dive for the closest seat in a meeting? Sit next to your favorite co-worker? Sit in the back away from the table?

Deciding where to sit should be a conscious decision. Common wisdom is that sitting near the front of a class leads to better grades. This may be merely a fact of being forced to stay awake while the slackers hide out in back where they can let their eyes close. Here’s my personal seating rules:

  1. Sit near the whiteboard. You’re a techie, chalk talk with a whiteboard should be second nature. If you’re not near the closest whiteboard you’ll hesitate to draw a quick and dirty diagram. Without that diagram a five minute discussion on where we’re going to move some web services can go on for twenty minutes.
  2. Mix it up. If it’s a regular meeting pick a new spot. This will force you to meet new people and get to know them a little better. You’ll also be party to some of their side conversations. And you won’t be so tempted to just start a bitching session with your peer about how our process is so screwed up.
  3. Sit near the food. OK, this is just a personal thing. Typically if there is food at a meeting it’s candy, and I’m a sucker for candy.
  4. Don’t lean back in the chair. It’s been many years since I used to lean back in chairs, but it’s a memorable event when you go spilling over onto the floor.
  5. If some of your developers are with you try to spread out. Strength in numbers can be overkill.
  6. If someone’s doing a presentation don’t sit with your back to them. Either you’re forced to twist around 180 degrees or you sit with your back to the presenter. The first is uncomfortable, and the latter makes the presenter wonder if you care what they’re saying.