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Project Management: Where Should I Sit? Tips to Influence Meeting Outcomes
Posted on Friday, April 19 @ 17:58:40 EDT by webadmin

PMConnection Articles
I have managed a number of project’s, set up a few PMO’s, implemented enterprise project management solutions, and consulted with many organizations.  As you can imagine, I have been involved in a number of meetings.

What I have learned is this:  where you sit within a meeting should not be random.  Choosing your seat at the table should be a very strategic decision.

Why is this you might ask?  Well the answer that I’m going to give you actually comes from PMBOK.  When I was studying for the PMP exam (passed in 2002), I came upon a concept or a phrase that I have never forgotten; as a Project Manager, I should work to influence those factors that create change.  This is what I feel like I am doing before every meeting; trying to figure out how to best influence.

Depending upon the type of meeting, I may sit in different locations within the room.  For example; if I’m teaching, training, or presenting, I would be in the front of the room, and actually prefer to stand.

If I am wanting to lead my team through a status meeting or some difficult topic, I would generally sit at the head of the table.

If I’m in a meeting to support my boss, or my sponsor, I might wait until they sit and then sit right next to them in order to whisper or pass notes.  I have also been known to sit right next to the person who I know is most resistant to an idea that I believe is good.  Similarly, I will use my proximity to influence softly.

The idea for this article hit me when just last week, I wanted the group of people I was working with to come up with their own solution.  I actually sat in the back of the room, not at the table with the rest of the group, and only spoke when called upon!

So, prior to your next meeting, pause.  Think about what you would like to achieve from that meeting and see if you can strategically select the best seat to influence that change.

Note: This product might be helpful:

Meeting Excellence: 33 Tools to Lead Meetings That Get Results

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