Public Speaking Course:
The Front Row
I discovered, while conducting research for a Thailand trip, that an important meeting custom is to seat VIP attendees in the front row. No one of a lesser status either socially or in business would ever think of sitting closer to the front than their boss, or someone of a higher social ranking. This is a pretty much ignored custom in Western meetings, yet carries a much higher significance in Thailand and Asia. Since many meetings are rather westernized anyway, don't worry if your presentation is not run this way. Just know that your knowledge and participation with this custom can earn you some real points with the people that count. You will learn more about this custom in my public speaking course.
I usually have a semi-circular theatre style room setup whenever I can. In my Thailand presentation, I found out approximately how many VIPs there would be and set the front row with plush chairs that were obviously nicer and different than the rest of the typical hotel chairs. I got to know one of the attendees who knew what the VIP people looked like. When a VIP was identified, either me or my assistant escorted them to a front row seat. The next thing I did was go around the room allowing the attendees to name themselves and their affiliations. I started at the back of the room and ended with the most senior official in the front row. These gestures were very well received and opened the door for a very productive presentation. These skills are very important to what you will learn from my public speaking course.