One of the challenges of being a planner is having impact in any meeting where most will see you as a necessary evil - or unnecessary evil.
Creatives think (rightly in many cases) they can do strategy.
So do suits, who like maintaining control of client meetings - many see you as a threat to their relationship.
Clients think they can do strategy too, many are either lazy, follow recieved wisdom or love overcompliacting things with needless data and research. Your skills of boiingl things down quickly AND uncovering the real truth can be viewed as a threat.
Now, over time, there's the hard work being interesting, helping people thinking they cracked it themselves, liberating others skills, being a positive force for good rather than a know-it-all sophist.And general reputation building.
But why work harder than you need to?
If you want to make a good impression quickly, just sit towards the middle of the table.
Priya Raghubir and Ana Valenzuela analysed the Weakest Link gameshow- where contestants sit in a semi-circle. Those in the middle reached the final round 42% of the time and won 45% of the time. Those at extreme positions got to the last round just 17% of the time and won just 10% of the time.
In another experiment, people were shown photos of five candidates for business internship, in a group. They were asked which should get the gig and chose those in the middle much more frequently.
They reckon there' a basic rule of thumb, important people sit at the middle that we all follow without knowing it.
I think it's simpler, at the extremes of a table, it's hard to get into the converation and make eye contact, but if you're in the middle, everyone tends to be looking in your general direction and it's easier to be heard. People at the edges have to try harder, and can look like they're struggling, or even worse, plain trying too hard (which they are).
Funny when tradition has it that the 'head' sits at the 'head of the table'.
Oh, and try and sit opposite the people you want to influence.
So yes, don't be the shy planner who hovers around until everyone has taken their seats. Don't be late and end up in the corner. Sit down first, sit in the middle and you'll be amazed how much easier meetings go for you.