Last month at the United Nations emergency Security Council meeting on Syria, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley did something I’ve been urging women to do for about a year: she stood up at a meeting when she had the floor.

See Nikki Haley Stand Up

Photo by Drew Anger Getty Images

You have probably seen her.  She had photos of children suffering from the sarin attack on civilians.  So she STOOD UP and showed them. She didn’t need permission. She had moral permission. She also needed to stand up so everyone could see what she had in her hands—evidence of an atrocity.

But you don’t really need anybody’s permission to stand up in any meeting, do you? Are there rules that say you can’t stand up in meetings? I ask this question all the time when I’m coaching lawyers, and they say, “Well, nobody else stands up, it would be weird if I did.” “I’d feel strange because people don’t stand up.”

So what? Here’s why you should consider standing up when it is your turn to talk in meetings.

  • You talk louder and better.
  • Everyone looks at you.
  • You gesture more expansively.
  • You have more power, and you are more likely to smile at people.
  • You will make better eye contact, and you can see everyone better.
  • You will be more centered because you will stand on your own two feet.
  • You don’t swing back and forth in a comfortable conference table chair.
  • You won’t slump or lean on the conference table.

So stand up when it is your turn to talk. Yes, it is more formal. What’s wrong with that? What are you doing at the meeting, anyway?