Have you ever noticed that comedy clubs pack the audience as tightly as possible? Sure, it’s about maximizing revenue in the space, yet more importantly, people laugh louder and longer when they’re close together. Comics are funnier in a packed house.
The same principle applies when you’re delivering “Aha’s” as well as “Haha’s.” It’s hard to have an energetic, dynamic, and interactive speech when your audience is spread throughout the room. For the most impact, you need to have them sitting together.
If you have control of the room before the audience arrives, you can block off the back rows with masking tape, or use Reserved signs.
But if you don’t have that luxury, the secret to getting a group to gather at the front of the room is to increment them through the process.
If you ask them to just move up in the room, 20 percent will and 80 percent will stay put. Any additional coersion may result in a resistant audience.
Instead, say, “Everybody please stand up.” Wait until they are standing. “Please pick up your things.” Wait until they pick them up. “Please move to the aisle” Wait until they are in the aisle. “Please walk to the front of the room.” As they are walking to the front say, “I’ve discovered that you can get the most from a meeting like this when you set next to someone you don’t yet know. So pick a new partner and take a seat at the front of the room.”
Watch the audience come alive and you’ve got the energy and engagement you need to have a great event.