What Sitting In The Front Row Will Teach You

As much as I can, I head to the front row of any conference, talk, presentation and seminar. I find that I tune in best in those spots – I “lean in”, as Sheryl Sandberg would also say. If I’m a few rows or tables back, the fascination of people watching can impede my hearing so I head to the front.

Front rows teach you to be a good attentive guest, to not fidget too much, to listen, to give the presenter the full respect they deserve. It teaches us to remember that giving of ourselves on stage allows others to learn, think, ponder, celebrate, grow and discuss.

One of my most recent front row seatings was at the Craft Brewers Conference held in Washington DC. At the opening Keynote Address and General Session, the rows are usually straight across, as were all the rooms I visited (a slight curve would serve the attendees better). Room layout has much to do with the efficacy of presentation to the audience and interaction of the presenter with the audience.

Blissing out at the CBC 2013

Blissing out at the CBC 2013

I like the front row also because to me being there in person is never replaceable by a screen, however large and simultaneous. The whole idea of going to a live talk is in large part the level of personal intimacy it offers: you can’t enjoy a concert from a recording as much as you can in person. And you’ll never get as much out of seeing the gestures, facial expressions, whole body movements, and supporting atmosphere remotely.

A few things that came from first the presenters live & in person:

Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing: Strengthen the bonds that make this a community, not just an industry.

Peter Bouckaert, New Belgium Brewing: 3 Ingredients in beer: Love, Experience and Creativity

Kim: Nurturing your happiness quotient feels right.

Peter (per receiving the Russell Scherer Award): [this is] the best place at the right time.

Another panel presenter offered this as well:

As partners, we’re putting everything on the line together.

Sitting in the front row affords you the most direct visual line to those giving of their time, expertise, humor and passions. As a presenter myself, I also very much appreciate the attentiveness and engagement of other front row sitters.

Why wouldn’t you sit in the front row? After all, like Sam Calagione says, we’re all blissed out!

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All Ale The Ladies Beer Pledge

It takes so little to make people happy.

Quality beer, lively company, fun atmosphere, and terrific hosts. When I say ‘little’ I don’t mean minimally or small things. It’s the effort part. Let me explain.

If you’re going to do something, then you’re going to put effort into it, right? And if you’re going to put effort into it, you may as well make sure you’re doing yourself, the effort and all related resources to good use. Otherwise, don’t bother. Plus – women don’t like half-baked attempts.

All Ale The Ladies 2011, The Black Squirrel (DC)

At the All Ale The Ladies event Sunday last (6.5.11) in Washington DC, everything was spot on. Yes, it was crowded (how many dozens of women wanted to come that got turned away!?). And the energy was off the charts!!! The energy compensation alone made the squished-in-a-small-space-college-party-feel totally acceptable.

It was a distinct pleasure to be a featured guest speaker – in great company, might I add – as well. In honor of the women in attendance (and a few sporting men), during my brief spotlight turn I spontaneously had the entire room raise their right hand and pledge:

“I am a Woman/Who enjoys my beer/

And no one else can tell me/What beers to like or drink.”

It’s almost needless to say that there was a huge and uproarious ‘Cheers!’ to the pledge when we were done.

Really, it’s simple: get engaged participants in the same room (women), serve them right (fresh quality beer and food), take care of them (service again), thank them for coming (external customer experience), thank the generous hosts (internal customer experience), talk about beer (education), treat them with respect as consumers (no-brainer for too few), and you’ll hit it way beyond out of the park. Try the next county.

My sincere gratitude goes out to the following for inviting me to be part of this event. And for putting together and executing such a successful and impactful evening of Women in Beer:

Thanks from the bottom of my glass and heart! Hope to see you all sooner again that later.

Here’s a whole slew of fabulous pictures by Heather McAndrews to enjoy.

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Heading to SAVOR 2011

The end of this week will find me in Washington DC, our nation’s capitol, being a small part of the incredible SAVOR event. Hope to see some of you ‘back East’!

The Brewers Association press release shared (full release here):

SAVOR

An American Craft Beer & Food Experience

Brewers Association Adds Second Night to Popular Washington, D.C. Event

WHAT:

Now in its fourth year, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience returns to Washington, D.C. and expands from one to two nights. Presented by the Brewers Association (organizers of the Great American Beer Festival®), SAVOR, the benchmark of beer and food events, is a must-attend happening for beer lovers and foodies alike.

Attendees will sample craft beers from 72 small and independent craft brewers who team up with a duo of expert chefs to pair each craft beer with delicious savory and sweet dishes. Educational salons [where I’ll get to assist] and private tasting salons will provide additional opportunities for attendees to interact with some of America’s most talented craft brewers and chefs.

WHEN:

Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4, 2011, 7:30 – 11:00 PM

WHERE:

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

WHY:

SAVOR’s rapid growth is strong evidence of the public’s appetite for craft beer along with food that complements and accentuates this artfully brewed beverage. In 2010, the event sold out in less than one day, which is why SAVOR has expanded to two nights for 2011. This year promises to be another memorable event for attendees looking to taste the best that America’s small and independent craft brewers have to offer.

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A SAVORy List Of Breweries

SAVOR your beer

June 3rd & 4th will find an incredible cross section of American Craft Breweries participating in a uber tasty and classy event: SAVOR.

This will be my first year attending, the 4th year it’s been in existence and truly, as the tag line states, “An American Craft Beer And Food Experience.” Here’s the list of participating breweries that will be in attendance. They’re picked by lottery due to the overwhelmingly popular opportunity for craft brewers across the country.

Beer is a universal beverage. And libations bring people together. Partner that with food and you’ve got an unbeatable combination sure to delight, please and inspire.

Save the dates – get ready to scoop up tickets (they go fast!). See you in DC.

Photo by Kate Parks

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Brick House And Great People

Cheers at the Brickskeller!!

Cheers at the Brickskeller!!

Here’s a glass lift to all who came out to the Brickskeller this past Wednesday night for some beers and respite from rainy DC weather. It was warm and beery inside.

Jonathon – it’s in big part your doing – thanks! Can’t wait to collaborate more.

Greg, Lindy, Charlie, Christian, Martin, Tammy, Bruce, Larry, Erin, and Rachel and Bill. What a fun group of beer enthusiasts.

One thing that continues to be remarkable in a very fun way is how diverse beer drinkers are, how open to trying ‘new’ beers most of them are (great to be around beer geeks, not beer snobs), and the lively conversation that invariably accompanies the quaffing.

p.s. here’s the 10 Questions again Martin – for any woman to answer…

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