Why I bring a chair to a casual meeting

Back in high school, I remember having an english teacher who always carried a short stool around.  Not one you would play a guitar on, but one that is quite low.  He would give us an in class assignment to do and sit down at his desk.  If we had a question, he would walk over with his stool, sit on it to be at eye level with us.  His reasoning was great.  He wanted to make sure we were comfortable, and that his 6 foot frame would not be intimidating to us.  It puts him more on a personal level with us.

I still think about this today in the workplace.  I may not practice this to the full extent by bringing a stool around with me, but when I do need to run over to a colleague’s desk for a quick discussion, I do ensure I grab a chair near by and have a seat.  It keeps me in a more comfortable position when speaking with my colleagues.  I don’t want to feel like I intimidate others by standing tall while the other(s) are sitting.  I do hope that I come across softer, and more professional.  I may not be a psychologist, but standing and speaking in a non-formal situation puts you in a more commanding position.  Probably not your intention as there is certainly a time and place for that.

Switching roles.  If you were the one sitting and the other is standing, most individuals feel a bit more intimidated, and possibly put on the spot.  In those cases, I stand up and put myself at their level.  Much like meeting someone for the first time with a handshake, it is considered rude to not stand up and perform the shake.  It can show a lack of respect.

So the next time you need to speak to someone, grab a chair, stand up, squat.  Just put yourself at the same level.