Caring and Sharing: Ideas from the Web

If you have 500 attendees and they all want to sit in the back of the meeting room, what creative ideas do you use to seat them up in front?

  • If it’s theater seating, rope off the back few rows to “force” attendees to sit up front. Once the front is close to filling up, free up rows until the room is full.
  • If it’s banquet seating, place reserved signs on the tables closest to the entrance(s). Once the tables up front are full, remove the reserved signs from each table as the room begins to fill up.
  • Offer a bonus for sitting in the front seats. Use more comfortable chairs up front or leave a small chocolate or lottery tickets on the seats closest to the stage.
  • For even larger groups with theater seating, close the back doors to encourage people to sit in the front of the room (some will still drift to the back). Then open up doors as front seats filled up.
  • Tell them that the first 50 to occupy the front rows can have a 3-5 page handwriting analysis profile the form they fill out to do this will have your branding  message.
  • Post a sign that says “back rows reserved for attendees in live skit”.
  • Have people turn their chairs around after they are all seated. Those who thought they were in the back end up in the front! Depending on the type of group they take it with good humor and it works.
  • If you put out only as many seats as you know you will fill, when the back seats are full the rest have to sit at the front.
  • Personally guide attendees to the front.
  • Set 2/3 of the room in rounds of 6 with theater seating in the back. Attendees would rather sit in a more comfortable environment for taking notes and for placing a coffee cup or water than sit in the back. Also, as typically attendees want the option of leaving a meeting room quickly and easily, leave the side doors open, for easy escape from the rounds.
  • Set up the first 2 rows for social media so that those who want to video, tweet can get a better view. It also elevates and encourages social media. This way the regular audience doesn’t feel like they are getting too close and the social media folks can be engaged and recognized.
  • Only distribute materials in the first three quarters of the room. For instance, if its classroom style seating put out note pads, pens, glasses for water at each setting but not in the back row(s). If its theater style put the outline for the talk, programs, etc. on each of the seats (again not in the back). It helps people naturally sit where materials are. Then keep a few chairs in the back of the room for late comers or overflow.
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