After completing this section, you will be able to:
- understand the significance of seating arrangements in a Chinese business setting
- know that you should wait for someone to identify your seat for you
- identify the significance of seating positions in traditional and modern Chinese meeting rooms
- identify the significance of seating positions at a Chinese banquet
When attending a business or social meeting with the Chinese, seating arrangements take on great importance. Where one sits in relation to others often conveys the relative status of a person as well as whether the person is a guest or host at an event or meeting. Given the importance of seating placement, the Chinese have developed a series of rules that dictate where individuals must sit when attending a meeting or dinner. Therefore, Westerners should not simply "take a seat" wherever they choose but be aware of their proper seat at the table. Failure to do so may be viewed as a sign of disrespect to a Chinese host and disrupt the hierarchy that the seating placement is meant to signify.