Should we sit?

Hey everyone!
While practicing our Chairman’s presentation, we were reviewing over Rush’s sample questions and saw that one was “Would you like to sit?” Our team has no clue how we would or should respond to this if we were asked. What would be the appropriate thing to do?
Lilly from GreengineerZ 3452

I don’t think there’s necessarily an appropriate or inappropriate thing to do – it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with. For me, that always meant standing (I think they only ever asked if we wanted to sit twice in four years) but it’ll vary based on what makes you comfortable and your presentation format.

As always, though – be polite!

Feel out the room. Last year at nyc the room was small and chairs were strewn to the side so we ddecided to decline. At hvr yesterday the chairs were set up directly in front of the judges so that if you did decide to stand they would block your view to the judges, so we sat.

(Avoid making CHAIR man’s joke here)

Semi-related anecdote:

During my time in the Marines, we had Meritorious Promotion boards. Basically, a Marine would be selected by their command, usually because they were deserving of a promotion faster than normal. During the board, they’d be inspected on uniforms, knowledge of applicable (and random) orders, and other required knowledge for the potential rank they may earn.

One of the less common challenges during a board was to enter the room, and be instructed to take a seat, but the chair was on its side off towards the wall. The intent wasn’t to make the candidate more comfortable, but simply to observe how they reacted to a situation they weren’t prepared for. Calm and collected candidates would smartly move to the chair, right it, center it on the room, and take a seat in an attentive posture.

Less successful candidates would either glance towards the board, ask a clarifying question, trip, or falter in some other way.


My team has never even been in a judging room with chairs for the presenters (at least, in the ten presentations I myself have done) so I can’t tell you about anything from my own experiences. However, I would decline if asked personally, and my other two presenters would as well. Sitting causes you to take on a more informal body language which can translate to informal speech, or forgetting certain points you wanted to make. Standing keeps you attentive and almost on-edge, but in a good way. I don’t think it’s a big deal either way though; whatever makes your presenters the most comfortable. You will not win or lose the Chairman’s Award based on your decision to sit or stand.

When giving a presentation, the preferred position is to stand.

One exception might be if: You would be seated behind a table and the Judges are seated behind a table. Then it is more like a conversation.

I remember a school interview question where the student was asked to open a window. The window was sealed shut.

Reminds me of a movie. The novice was being interviewed to join a Temple. The master offered him a cup of tea. The test was to see if the novice drank his tea before the master drank his. Keep in mind that this has no bearing on the reality of temples initiations or chairmans, but is an example of knowing the importance of local customs.

I recommend standing. You are making a formal presentation, do everything you can to impress your audience.