Business Meeting Etiquette for the Head Table

The meeting leader should sit at the head of the table at a business meeting.
The meeting leader should sit at the head of the table at a business meeting. (Image: business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from

If you are planning a business meeting, you may need to review etiquette for conducting one. Following business meeting protocol will help the meeting run smoothly while helping guests and important speakers feel appreciated and important to the success of the business or project.


Meeting leaders commonly sit at the head table of a business meeting. This practice signals to meeting attendees who is leading the meeting and to whom they should listen and direct questions about the meeting agenda.

Guest Speakers

If you have a guest speaker for the meeting—or another important speaker, such as the CEO of the company—consider giving the head seat to this person. If you are the meeting leader, sit beside the guest speaker, CEO or company leader. As the speaker, you may also take the head position and place the guest speaker beside you. Choosing one way or the other will depend upon the guest's temperament and importance.

Global Meetings

If you are conducting a business meeting in a global setting, check with a person who works in the company in the country in which you are visiting to find out what kinds of specific business etiquette rules its inhabitants observe. Different cultures observe different etiquette rules.

Round Tables

Consider using round tables if you plan to negotiate a deal or if you want employees to feel equal. Round tables eliminate the "head position," so as the meeting leader, you will have to assert yourself. Bring an agenda, which will signal to employees that you are directing the meeting. The round table will communicate that you want to hear everyone's ideas.


As the person sitting in the head position at the table ,dress appropriately. Dressing in a suit indicates that you care about your job and are professional, responsible and a strong leader.

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