The Power of a Round Table for Sustainability Persuasion


Do you have a big sustainability pitch coming up? Whether you are trying to convince your company to expand its sustainability budget for 2014, or trying to get the IT team on board for a particular green initiative, make sure that you're meeting at a round table.

Why a round table?

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, "Seating arrangements affect persuasion by activating fundamental needs: Circular seating highlights the need to belong, whereas angular arrangements prime the desire to be unique."

Every little bit helps when you're trying to convince people to embrace your sustainability plans, and new research highlights the impact that your seating plays in getting buy-in from others.

"People in a circular seating arrangement had a more positive impression of a travel ad urging them to make family and friends a priority than of an ad saying "Make yourself a priority" (3.78 versus 2.75 on a 7-point scale); but people in an angular seating arrangement, such as in rows at right angles, favored the self-oriented ad (3.82 versus 2.41), say Rui (Juliet) Zhu of the University of British Columbia and Jennifer J. Argo of the University of Alberta, both in Canada."

So try it -- instead of sitting across the desk from your boss, suggest a meeting in the conference room. Or better yet, around a small cafe table, so you can both enjoy a beverage while you make your pitch! 

(Hat tip: Harvard Business Review)

Do you have any examples of how making your pitch at a round table helped your cause?  Leave a comment or join the conversation on Twitter!