About 100 days a year I present to / train large groups of educators. And I have learned something about audiences. Call it a pre-snap read.
There are two types of front row sitters. First, there are the people who love professional development. They are engaged from the get go. Like kids sitting on the front row of the new blockbuster, pop-corn in hand, their attitude is “let the entertainment begin.”
Then there is the other front row sitter. This is the person who came in late and the front row has the only seats left. Self-entitled, these people start out mad and miss the first hour of training being upset that they couldn’t sit where they wanted.
The middle of the room sitters are polite, but hedging their bets. Hook them early and they’ll engage and participate. But if they sense that their time is being wasted, out come the cell phones and lesson plans.
The back of the room crowd is generally checked out before they sit down. These are either the “cool” kids who like to sit in the back and kill time with their buddies, or the permanently disgruntled. If you want to see newspapers, crosswords or web surfing, head to the back row. Which means as a presenter, you have to work the back of the room hard (power zone), because if you ignore them their influence will encroach on those in the middle of the room.
So where did / do I sit? It depends on the presenter and the topic. 15% of the time in the front row, 65% on the time in the middle of the room, and 20% of the time in the back rows.
Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…
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