ProTip: Get Out from Behind the Desk, Literally

Updated: Oct 19

No matter who the visitor is or what the situation is, any time you come around from behind your desk and sit near someone, you set up a friendly climate for a more relaxed discussion.

- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business


"Getting out from behind the desk" is often used as a metaphor for leaving the mindset of the office and engaging with the wider world, but here, we mean it literally: physically step out from behind your desk to connect more closely with the person you're speaking to, no matter whether it's a customer, an employee, a vendor, or anyone. When you're with a customer, the desk makes you seem less like a "regular" person and more like just another piece of the business they are visiting. Or if you're with an employee, sitting behind your desk emphasizes your differences in rank. While neither of these situations is inherently negative (and these differences are sometimes very necessary), there are times when you want to focus on the conversation and the communication, and sitting or standing together at the same level can make everyone more relaxed and open.

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