Sales Meetings – it matters where you sit

Sales meeting

Sales Meetings – it matters where you sit


By LeAnn Pashina, founder of Creatively Communicate, Inc .

Believe it or not, where you and your prospective client sits at a table during your presentation will play a factor in the conversational flow, success in closing the sale, and the energy in the room. Understanding this will enable you to set up every meeting for success before you speak your first word.

Every sale happens between two or more individuals , and any time people are part of an equation, it can create some interesting dynamics. Sales are difficult enough as a profession; if you can increase your rapport and closing ratio with your client simply by selecting the right place to sit, then why wouldn’t you?

Research shows that more sales are closed when the salesperson sits to the left of their potential client than to the right. I am not saying that if you sit in the left-hand seat, you will close every sale; there are too many aspects that lead to a sale for that to be true. You still need to deliver a good presentation, although I am suggesting that by simply understanding the seating strategy, you can increase the percentage of your successful closes.

Keep in mind that I am not talking about manipulation in your sales presentation. What we’re discussing is basic human nature and information you can use to have your meetings and presentations proceed with more success.

Whenever possible, you will want to be the one deciding where each person sits, instead of leaving it to chance. Choosing who sits where is not always possible, but you can still make some minor changes or modifications to benefit you during your presentation. There are various positions to consider, in this article, we will cover where to sit when you are at a conference table.

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The corner position seating arrangement creates a casual, friendly environment for conversation. It has an advantage over having a confrontational “face to face” setting, which is perceived as too direct and aggressive – not the most welcoming qualities to display when you are meeting someone new or presenting to a prospective client.

Corner positioning allows for good eye contact and the opportunity to use numerous hand gestures and body language expressions as well as a vantage point to observe the gestures of the other person. The corner of the table or desk is a partial barrier for each person, which is important because it will provide some security if one person begins to feel threatened for any reason, and at the same time avoids territorial division of the table or desk.

The corner position is the most successful strategic position from which you, the salesperson in position B, can deliver a presentation to your prospective prospect in seat A. By simply occupying the chair in location B shown in the above diagram; you can prevent a tense atmosphere and increase the chances of a positive outcome.

The other significant thing to keep in mind with the corner seating arrangement is to sit to the left of your prospective client whenever possible, especially if you’ll be giving a presentation. Research shows that more sales are closed when sitting to the left of your client. It is because you are speaking more into the right brain hemisphere of your client, which is the emotional side, and where we all make most of our decisions. (We make decisions based on emotions and then justify them logically.)

Knowing and understanding this information will allow you to apply it to your next sales meeting easily and enjoy even more success.

Need more detail about sitting positions?  Grab a copy of our book “Sit Your Way to Success” to learn how you can apply even more strategies.

Toastmasters communications public speaking

Improve Your Communication with Bilingual Toastmasters


Would you like to improve your English AND Spanish speaking skills?  Regardless of your experience in either language, Bilingual Lady Toastmasters meetings can help you:

*decrease your fear of public speaking

*enhance the effectiveness of your message

*remove filler words from your speech like “ah” and “um”

*improve your grammar-immediately respond to questions you do not have much time to think about

Additionally, the Bilingual Lady Toastmasters club provides a warm and supportive environment made up of AMAZING ladies.
Be a guest at the next meeting at Genuine Joe’s Coffeehouse (2001 W Anderson Ln in North Austin)  cellar room from noon to 1 pm.  Meetings are every 1st Wednesday (in English) and 3rd Wednesday (in Spanish) of the month. More on this group can be found HERE.
If you are unable to make these meetings and prefer a Toastmaster club at a different time or place, find a Toastmasters club near you at THIS LINK.
Valerie Chavez can also be reached at 512-919-9634 for any questions.

There is another Bilingual Toastmasters that meets in South Austin on Mondays’ from 12 to 1 PM at IHOP 1101 S Mopac Austin, TX 78746 . More about this group can be found HERE.

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Advance your speaking and leadership skills with Austin PM Toastmasters


Does the mere thought of standing up to say a few words fill you with fear?
If so, you’re not alone! Fear of public speaking is reputed to rank even higher than death! Whether it’s the upcoming wedding speech, an important pitch to a client, or simply making your point in a meeting of colleagues, it’s easy for the fear to take over – so that you don’t perform at your best. There are consequences for how you’re viewed by friends, family and your boss, with follow-on emotional and economic impacts.

So what would you like to do about it? If you’re employed in a reasonable sized organisation, you might have already attended a presentation skills course.  If you really want to tackle your fear, and also if you’ve not got access to in-house training, Toastmasters is the perfect answer.

Our wide network of clubs and their learn-by-doing program are sure to help you become a better speaker and leader because you’ll be building your skills at a pace that you choose. And the regular meetings (typically twice per month) ensure you practice and develop your skills – just as you might build your muscles through regular exercise .

Here are just some of the benefits of joining Toastmasters:

  • Regular and constructive feedback from other learners as you practice organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly
  • Access to a wealth of educational materials and resources on public speaking, listening skills and effective communication in conferences and meetings.
  • Insights on communication, leadership, club activities and other relevant topics.

Members quickly gain the skills that allow them to excel at job interviews, present humorous, informative or special occasion speeches or give powerful business presentations.

Attend the next meeting to find out more and see it in action. Guests are welcomed. Austin PM Toastmasters may be the place for you. The group originated to serve Project Managers, but it is not limited to professionals in that field. This group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month at 6:30 pm in North Austin at Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Rd Austin, TX 78754 ). For more information on this group, visit HERE.

Meet Christina Trevino, a visionary educator


Author Christina Trevino is a leadership entrepreneur, visionary educator and founder of Emotion Leadership Enterprises (ELE) with the goal to have this program in 22 cities by 2022. ELE focuses on professional and personal leadership training and coaching. Emotion Leadership is a critical skillset to accurately identify and express emotions for improved leadership, impacting work, relationships, health and wellness.

ELE is unique in that it bridges personal and professional development, spans from adults to children, corporate to families, leveraging a common framework. Programs include Leadership for the Professionals Spirit™ and Leadership for the Teen Spirit™ . ELE is headquartered in Austin, Texas. In addition to the Leadership for the Human Spirit ™ platform, Christina and her team continue to expand her Zoo in You ™ product line.

In 2013, Dr. Oz selected Christina’s book, “Zoo in You,” as the only children’s program at his inaugural Emotional Health and Wellbeing Conference for military families. And in 2015, Austin Woman magazine chose her as one of its Leading Minority Female Business Owners.


How Leaders Beat Self Defeat


By Chris Makell, CEO and Founder of Spark of Brilliance Consulting

This episode launches a NEW series on the Fundamental Laws of Power & Influence!

Each LAW will be presented with an historical reference and how you can use it as a leader to beat self defeat. As always, you’ll receive key takeaways that you can use immediately.

These episodes will be BRIEF — about 5-7 minutes of content, so you can listen on the go and gain a ton of insight into what’s possible for you as a leader.

Enjoy and I’d love to hear what you think about the Laws of Power & Influence for leaders to beat self defeat!


In this episode, you’ll learn about a fundamental law of power an influence that says, when you say less, you are in far more control.

Listen HERE.

Talk less

Meet Shawn Utterback, a seasoned improviser


Shawn Utterback is the Chief Experience Officer of Play Storming with the model of Lead, Create, Innovate, Collaborate and Play!  Shawn Utterback is a seasoned improviser and facilitator with over 15 years experience. His passion and energy for igniting cultural change through the experience of play becomes immediately apparent when working with him. Shawn has taught and performed with ComedySportz, Project Improv, Take 5 and Dysfunction Junction to name a few. Shawn has helped develop communication and brand strategies for some of the world’s largest brands including Pepsi Co, Proctor and Gamble and Kellogg’s. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Academy of Art University where he teaches Creative Strategy and The Art of Presentation. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Shawn has shared his passion through designing and delivering programs for technology companies, advertising agencies, government, education and non-profits. As a professional speaker, adjunct professor and facilitator, Shawn designs fun, challenging and engaging experiences and tools that help individuals and organizations communicate, collaborate and deal with change.


The 7 Habits Of Great Improvisers Every Leader Should Practice


By Shawn Utterback, CEO of The PlayStorming Group

Say Yes, and…

The first lesson that an improviser learns is to accept every offer that is made. This basic rule is known as ‘Yes, anding.’ This principle allows improvisers to be positive and always look for new directions and opportunities. By saying ‘yes,’ you accept an idea ‘and’ you develop the idea further, making it better. An idea will quickly grow if you’re positive. You also validate the person making the offer, which opens the door to communication and collaboration.

Be Flexible…

An improviser never really knows what he will be confronted with, so he should not be too fixated on following his own plan. He has to be willing to abandon his own ideas and go along with other people’s. Flexibility also helps to create new associations and connections.

Listen to Understand…

Many leaders listen just enough to respond. Cue sound bites from any political debate or town hall meeting. How many of us listen to understand. When having a conversation, do you think about what you are going to say next? Is your response run through the filter of ‘agenda’? Active listening facilitates understanding and authentic connection. This requires one to be “in the moment”. Which leads us to…

Be In The Moment…

A great improviser lives in the here and now, in the present. He is alert and is able to respond instantly and sharply to changes or sudden twists and turns. This means that all sorts of other thoughts do not distract him, but that he is totally focused on things that are happening around him at that particular moment in time. By being in the present, and not judging the situation, all options are open and everything is possible.


Before they start doing anything, great improvisers focus on the big picture. The details will follow spontaneously once they start improvising and experimenting. If you want to plan all the details in advance, you will spend a lot of time only to discover that reality is more resilient than you thought. It is only through experimentation that you will find out what does and doesn’t work. Practice exploration and discovery.

Make Others Look Good…

A good improviser is very altruistic by nature. One of the ground rules of improv is: make sure the other person looks good. When you watch two improvisers on stage, you can easily see this habit at work. They do not try to outshine the other person. Instead, they make strong choices that set others up for success. What choices do you make as a leader that sets other up for success?

Dare To Fail…

It’s very important that a great improviser dares to fail. It is the opposite of trying to prevent every mistake. If you try to control the whole situation, you end up spending more time and money instead of making the mistake and learning from it. And learning from mistakes is a vital part of improvisation (and leadership). So go for it, fail fast and learn fast.

About the Play Storming Group:

PLAY STORMING is a collision between work and play, a consulting network that uses experiential learning methods – including techniques from Improvisational Theatre – to help people with COMMUNICATION, CREATIVITY and CHANGE.


Meet Harish Kotecha, Founder of Hindu Charities for America


Harish Kotecha was born in Uganda, studied Electrical engineering in UK and settled in the U.S. when Dictator Idi Amin ousted most of the foreigners out of Uganda.  He retired early from IBM where he worked in hardware development, contributing in the areas of semiconductor, system board, software and later in the area of quality improvement. He has almost two dozen US patents.  Kotecha is a co-founder of an instant yogurt product, Yokit.  Since retirement, Harish spends most of his time in volunteer work – he actively volunteers in religious, civic, cultural, service, and social organizations in the Austin area Indian community holding leadership or Advisory positions.  Harish Kotecha has been recognized by the 2014 President’s Volunteer Service Award for addressing the most pressing needs in the community and country.

Since 2009, Harish has been helping with the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees in Austin working across resettlement agencies, temples, and other organizations that are assisting in the resettlement process. He is on the Advisory Board of Refugee Services of Texas and is on the panel of the Refugee Round Table. In recognition of his services, Harish was awarded 2009 Samaj Seva(community service) by the India Community Center.

Harish founded Hindu Charities for America (HC4A), a non-denominational charity, with the vision of Indians helping with Education of Homeless Children in the U.S.. Since 2010, HC4A successfully donated school supplies to most school districts in Austin area as a joint project with Greater Austin Area Jewish Federation. Since 2013, Jewish and Indian communities have joined hands and raised funds together with a fundraiser – Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt.

To help with income disparity in Austin area, an initiative to provide vocational training to economically disadvantaged children was launched in 2013. This resulted in 2014 awards of $20,000 in scholarships to Capital Idea, Manor ISD and ACC. This year $25,000 is slated to be awarded to ACC, Capital Idea, Manor, and Austin  ISDs.  Current efforts are to make HC4A a mainstream charity with involvement of all communities. Efforts are underway to establish an Executive Board, each Board member contributing annually $2,500 toward scholarships.

Recently the third annual ‘Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt’ fundraising event, organized by Hindu Charities for America and the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, brought together the Indian and Jewish communities once again to help over a thousand homeless children with school supplies for the upcoming school year in Austin, Del Valle and Manor. The event was covered in an article in the India-West, the largest and most prestigious among weekly Indian newspapers on the West Coast of U.S. established in 1975.

Harish is married to Shobhna, has a daughter Sonia who is activist and works at CASA, and son Savan who is a very successful international songwriter to over songs 100M sold.  Harish and his wife Shobhna often act as a resource to Indian residents who are newly settled in Austin. They have also helped overseas University of Texas Austin students by providing accommodations, transportation and settle in the area. Harish helps to do outreach for many organizations as well as those seeking to make connections with temples and cultural organizations.

Photo via India West
Photo via India West

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Meet Tania Rodriguez, Co-empowering a Sustainable Future


Tania Rodriguez is a visionary and entrepreneur committed to the development of projects and ideas, which contribute to environmental protection and sustainability. A trained architect with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial projects in the USA, she combines her technical acumen with her management and leadership skills to advocate for the dignity and quality of life through the practice of green architecture to empower individuals and communities globally to live holistically and in harmony with nature. CEO and Founder of Green Habitat, she is dedicated to design projects based in energy efficient solutions and clean energy in urban and rural communities, she is also the Co-Founder of EVO Formance a LED lighting company supplying the automobile industry from a base in Asia through global representation.

Tania Rodriguez shows us how sustainable business models promoting an evolved consciousness and ethical production and consumption cycles (Fair Trade) are urgently needed for our world today in order to achieve sustainable relationships between Humankind and our natural Eco-systems which sustain us. She recently presented within the context of the principles of “Eco-Feminism” which present a major question about the relationship between the current perception of the Feminine, in many cultures and societies today, and the current condition of Planet Earth.
This talk was given on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at TEDxTulum. The theme was “Inspiring Ideas from the Maya.” For more information, visit  To view Tania Rodriquez’s  speaking at TEDxTulum on Co-empowering a sustainable future — Eco-feminism view here.

Tania designed the architectural model for the ‘School-out-of-a-Box’ project, incorporating green technologies and sacred geometry, and is currently managing the construction of the first prototype in the Mayan region of Mexico. Tania collaborates with projects dedicated to empower economic and productivity practices in indigenous communities around the world, and believes in the expansion of permaculture and urban agriculture as a societal solution for humankind. She is now working on co-creating sustainable models for affordable “Green Housing” in North America.

She is the President of the McCombs Mexican Alumni Network; in which capacity she presented on the subject of ‘Social Responsible Practices in Business’ at the 1st and 2nd Annual McCombs-EGADE Business Schools Speaker Series in Mexico City; is a Member ofNEXUS; an international network created to promote social responsible investments and innovation in philanthropy, she recently participated in a Global Youth Summit at the United Nations; and is a Board Member of the Mnemosyne Institute base in Dallas, TX; a non-profit organization whose main propose is to create programs supporting education around the world. Tania was formally invited to head the formation of a new national organization ‘The Club of Budapest Mexico’ which proposes a change of practices around the world to activate social change for environmental protection.

Tania received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from The University of Texas at Austin – The Red McCombs School of Business and currently serves in the MBA Alumni Advisory board in the same institution. She holds a second MBA from the – EGADE Business School – in the Monterrey Institute of Technology, accredited by the Association of MBA’s (AMBA) in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the – Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education – accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


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