Table Seating Positions

Strategic positioning in relation to other people is an effective way to obtain cooperation from them. Aspects of their attitude toward you can be revealed in the position they take in relation to you.

Mark Knapp, in his book Non-Verbal Communication in Human Interaction, noted that, although there is a general formula for interpretation of seating positions, the environment may have an effect on the position chosen. Research conducted with white middle-class Americans showed that seating positions in the public bar of an hotel can vary from the seating positions taken in a high-class restaurant and that the direction in which the seats are facing and the distance between tables can have a distorting influence on seating behaviour. For example, intimate couples prefer to sit side by side wherever possible, but in a crowded restaurant where the tables are close together this is not possible and the couples are forced to sit opposite each other in what is normally a defensive position.

Because of a wide range of moderating circumstances, the following examples relate primarily to seating arrangements in an office environment with a standard rectangular desk.

Ba B4

FigUn; 150 fldSJt teating ptjniti<m*

Person B can take four basic seating positions in relation to person A.

B1: The corner position

B2: The co-operative position

B3: The competitive-defensive position

B4: The independent position

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Body Language Basics

Body Language Basics

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