Optimizing Your Seating Arrangement for Q&A

After your interview is complete, it is generally time for questions from your selection panel. More often than not, I find that presentation spaces are either boardroom style or in a room where the team is across from the panel who is either along a single table or in a horseshoe.

Research suggests that we need to change things us visually every 7 minutes to keep the audience engaged.  Having the panel look at your team with a different visual and experiential perspective, helps re-engage that panel.  So ideally, it is worthwhile to alter the room or seating slightly to respond to questions.

Here are a few of my recommendations for how to use the room to create the feeling of a team meeting rather than the formal presentation they just experienced:

    1.  Respond to questions from a seated position.

    2.  If during the presentation, team members were seated on either side of the screen, and the room    allows, create a semi-circle in front of the screen with the Project Manager in the middle.  This suggests a round-table style dialogue with the team and the panel.  It also enables the PM to see other team    members who may show in their face or raise a hand to show them when they would like to answer a    question.

    3.  If you are directly across from the panel with a boardroom table in between.  Do the semicircle rather    than having everyone move up to the table.  This provides a good vantage point for your PM and your    panel to see everyone.

    4.  If the table is boardroom style, and the panel is in on one end of the table, I suggest having the PM    move to the head of the table.  Then have other team members flare out the seating a bit to a V shape    so they can see the panel.  More importantly, the panel can see each member of your team.

Every room has limitations and opportunities.  The most important thing is to make sure your PM can see his/her team during questions and you and the panel can see each other.

Wishing you much success and happiness,

Hilari Weinstein

High Impact Communication

602-795-5400 FREE

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