I spend much of my day in conference rooms—whether it’s with customers, planning events, coaching teams, or receiving a project update—and I’ve noticed something. Pushing in your chair is what you do when you get up from a table. Any table.
When you don’t push in your chair, you signal to everyone in the room that you’re not focused on how you affect the team or how much you care about the space you’re in. It’s not only a matter of manners, it’s a matter of respect—and respect is one of the keys to building trust.
If you are invited to someone's home for dinner, at the end of the meal, chances are they don’t stand up, and slide their chair across the floor until it hits the wall and then leave it there? No certainly not. You’d think that was rude—and you’d be right. Taking a moment to push in all the chairs around the conference table is an act of respect that will ensure a clear and calm close to the existing meeting, and a successful starting point for the next one. I challenge you to put some humbleness back into your interactions.
Next time you finish a meal, leave a conference room table, or wrap up your workday wherever your desk may be, push your chair in please.