How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Negotiation Room Seating
The positioning of the seats (or how you stand) during a negotiation will affect the proceedings as much as anything.
When you are seated opposite the other person, face-to-face, you are using a confrontational setting. This may be good for formal boss-subordinate situations or where you want to dominate the other person (particularly if you are higher or in a bigger, more comfortable chair).
Sitting across a desk provides the classic confrontational setting. It can be accentuated by having the desk at the back of the room, such that the person coming in must approach the 'throne' and has no choice of seating.
The most common body position for conversation is with torsos angled, often at 90 degrees to one another. This avoids the face-to-face confrontational element whilst also allow looking at the other person's face.
Sitting across a corner of a table or with chairs angled provides for this friendly positioning.
An even more collaborative seating position is in a side-by-side arrangement. This is particularly useful if you want to work together on something in front of you.
This may be sitting at a table with paper or a computer. It may also be standing up at a whiteboard or flipchart. The key theme is to engage them in an activity that makes them feel at one with you.
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