Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Conference Goer's Guide to Seating

Several speakers during Internet Librarian 2006 said that context is as important or more important than content, meaning library users are seeking good experiences, and content is just a means to an end. With that in mind, it seems logical to say that sitting in a good seat is a very important factor in having a good conference presentation experience.

Rule 1. If you can, sit with someone you know and like. This may be the best advice for enjoying a presentation. You can chat before and after the speaker speaks. If the presentation starts to drag, you can play tic tac toe. Of course, at Internet Librarian, you play tic tac toe on a laptop or a pocket PC.

Rule 2. When the presentation is in a shallow but wide room with two screens, do not position yourself an equal distance between the screens. You will be uncertain which screen is best and keep turning from one to the other. If you are in rows one to four, you will have a difficult viewing angle and find neither screen satisfactory. Take a warm shower afterwards to relax your neck muscles.

Rule 3. Do not let your whim to photograph the speaker lead you to sit in front of a podium that is toward the front of a stage. When the presentation begins, you will find the speaker and the podium are standing between you and the slide show.

Rule 4. If you want some room, sit toward the middle of a long row. Most of the attendees tend to take seats at the ends of the row.

Rule 5. Remember Rule 1. Do not arrive early. Wait until many people are already in the room so you have a better chance of finding a friend.

Rule 6. If you can not satisfy Rule 1, make a new friend. It will make satisfying Rule 1 easier in the future.


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