Many companies may not take the seating arrangements into account when in a meeting, however if you are intending to have a meeting that is meant to be more of a collaborative session then looking at how you arrange the seating in a room can have a very big difference on the outcome of your meeting. When in a meeting with just two people it tends to be that when sitting down at a meeting table or boardroom table, they almost always sit opposite each other on opposing chairs. This type of seating arrangement can be described as adversarial in respect of territory. This type of seating arrangements can seem like there are two different sides.
In order to discourage this type of mentality, it is advised that you arrange your seating at right angles as studies suggest that this is the best way to produce a more collaborative meeting and is can create a more informal environment. If this is not possible, arranging your office chairs or meeting room furniture so that the chairs are side by side is the next best configuration. The idea of arranging your office chairs in this type of situation will come in very useful if you are trying to help your team work together more efficiently and encourage new working relationships.
Tata Chemicals adopted this idea of rearranging their seating and tried something new in order to increase productivity among their staff. “We experimented with a unique process during the integration meeting after one of our early M&A’s where seating arrangement during employee integration made a positive difference. We arranged chairs in concentric circles, rather than in a theatre style or around a conference table that might have made one group seem dominant. This very subtle nonverbal communication was very powerful and ensured a feeling of equality among the managers from both the organizations. The participation level was much higher.”
Experimenting with seating configurations can be a great bonus to your business as it can encourage team building, so next time you are in a meeting try using these types of seating configurations and monitor the results.