Front row phobia I don’t know if it’s a thing but I know you know what I’m writing about. As a presenter I see it all the time…people walk into the conference room relaxed, sipping their takeaway coffees, chatting away and then they see all the seats are full apart from the front row. It’s like the sound of fingernails on the blackboard. They’re no longer relaxed and avoidance becomes the default. All of a sudden people realise they’ve been sitting all day and it be good to stand for a bit, or the wall starts to look comfortable and a good place to lean. Almost everything else in the room becomes more desirable than taking the front row and running the risk off…whatever that little voice is saying within.
My advice through this column is take the front row. Even if every other row is available sit in the front, unless it’s date night at the movies than go to the back, but at a conference, assembly, show, if the choice is available take it and this is why….
There’s a lady who’s been at five separate events I’ve spoken at, I know…wow and she’s not my mum, but like a proud mum would be she’s always in the front row. She’s a top performer in the industry I’m speaking with and when asked why she’s always in the front, often away from those who she knows, the logic that obviously contributes towards her success becomes clear. “In the front row; there are no distractions between me and the stage, I can see better, I can hear better, I can be 100% present in what is happening in front of me, it’s like I’m the only one there”. What an admirable mindset that is.
I got to practice this mindset as I sat front row at a gig as part of last month's comedy festival. Sharing via social media the photo of my front row view of the stage brought about comments such as “abort”, “move back”, “you never want to sit front row man”. The show was fantastic, distraction free and as the show began to wind up the comedian said “now you know me, I want to know you” my palms began to sweat as the microphone came straight at me. This is what people dread, but you know what? I got an experience the guys down the back never got, I will never forget that show, my return on investment was far greater for the unique experience I got… AWESOME!
Winners are at the front of those who follow, drivers are at the front of the car, pilots are at the front of the plane, captains make sure there is nothing disrupting their view, all of this results in control and arriving at the desired destination.
So as we enter our next event sipping from a takeaway cup, what voice will we hear when we look at the available seats nearest the stage?