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Why You Should Sit in the Front Row at Conferences

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Here's a piece of advice you probably don't want, but can improve your conference (or meeting) experience: sit in the front row.

Here’s a piece of advice you probably don’t want, but can improve your conference (or meeting) experience: sit in the front row.

Most of us have a tendency, ingrained from our school days, to sit farther back — if not at the rear of the room, at least in the middle somewhere. Doing otherwise feels like going to the movies and sitting so close to the screen that you’re stuck watching the film with your neck torqued back at a 90 degree angle. Spindows founder Clay Herbert advises us to rethink that. His advice, via Lifehacker:

“If you hide in the back, every row between you and the speakers is a potential distraction. Staring at the backs of everyone’s head makes it easy for your mind to wander. It’s too easy to check your phone and tune out,” he writes. “By sitting in the front row, you’ll avoid these distractions, focus on the speakers and learn more.”

Other reasons to sit up front, according to Herbert, include connecting with other attendees, networking … and, you know, being able to actually see the slides. It’s also good for us on a personal level.

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“Simple actions like proactively sitting in the front row at a conference can help you learn to recognize and manage your lizard brain. Silencing it through simple victories like sitting in the front row will help you silence it in other areas as well,” he writes. “Pretty soon, you’ll be the one up on stage.”

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What are your tips for making the most of conferences? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: zigazou76/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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