I was struck by something this week. I read a story on how a jury’s verdict can be swayed and quickened by the shape of table they sat at.
Paul Smith in Lead with a Story, discusses how the shape of the table impacts a jury’s decision. If they sat at a rectangular table, where one juror was at the head of the table, that person dominated the conversation, so other jurors were reluctant to share their point of view. While if the jurors all sat at a round or oval table the conversation was discussed equally amongst them.
That made me think of family dinners. It sure made sense. Take the show, Blue Bloods for instance, when they are at their big family dinners. Actor Tom Selleck, at the head of the table, certainly commands the conversation. The head of the table does seem to always dominate and orchestrate the discussion. Maybe that is why the young startup companies have business meetings sitting on couches. If you have a relaxed atmosphere there is more sharing and not as much dominating.
So, I propose that at our next family dinner or business meeting, we observe the seating arrangements and how the conversations are going. Do we need to bring in a new shaped table? OR, here’s a FUN idea, put the quietest person at the head of the table. NOW that would be a HOOT! Would this theory still be true? Let me know if you find out!