Have you noticed that people will choose their seats depending on the situation?
In a concert or sporting event who wouldn’t want to be in the front row . . . and yet if we’re talking about a class or conference, more often than not the front row (and usually the 2nd and 3rd rows) are avoided like the plague.
The reason is usually fear. Fear of being in the spotlight, of being called upon to answer a question, of having nowhere to hide.
The back row is ‘safe’, the front row, terrifying for many.
My Experience With The Front Row
Last month I attended the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco. The room was reasonably full when I arrived but the first few rows were completely empty. I chose to sit in the 4th row, about a ¼ of the way from the front. Not the front row, but definitely visible.
I hadn’t attended many conferences and this was my first to attend solo. While I’m reasonably chatty I don’t usually make a habbit of wandering straight up to strangers and striking up a conversaion, but this was a 2 day conference so I would need to talk to some people. My plan was to become active on the twitter hashtag #ims11, get involved in the conversation and then go seek those people out.
Shortly before our first break I noticed a woman, Jackie Shelley, tweeting about how all the fabulous people were in the front row, I tweeted back to see if the 4th row counted, Jackie agreed that I could be fabulous in the 4th row although Brandon Yanofsky was informed point blank that the back row was no good! However post lunch I had been recruited to the ‘fabulous front row’ to join both Jackie and Lois Ardito, and then Brandon joined us a few sessions later.
Sitting in the front row for the conference was great for a lot of reasons. Not only is it easier to see the slides and give each session your full attention (without the distractions of ‘people watching’) but I met some great people!
Life After The Front Row
One month later and Jackie, Lois, Brandon and myself are all still in contact and have even started our own podcast, discussing all things marketing, business and life related.
By our second podcast Jackie had a new business venture, her own company, appropriately called, Front Row Antics!
Today was our fourth podcast and Lois mentioned that she now uses the idea of the ‘front row’ as a positive mentality, deciding that today will be a ‘front row day’, meaning all engines are firing and the day will be met head on. I absolutely love this idea and will try to make most days front row days!
So there you have it, sitting in the front row resulted in friendship, a podcast, a new business and a new mentality. Remember that the next time you have to choose your seat…!