[wplug-plan] Problem with rude audience members at recent talks

David Ostroske eksortso at gmail.com
Tue May 3 20:07:31 EDT 2005

On 5/3/05, Duncan Hutty <duncanhutty at comcast.net> wrote:
> Beth Lynn wrote:
> > Presentations are not discussions.
> Perhaps the host can ask the speaker beforehand what style they would
> like, whether a relatively informal directed discussion or a more formal
> presentation. Then, if a more formal style is requested, this can be
> communicated to the audience with something like "In order to ensure
> that the material can be covered effectively, we request that questions
> and comments are reserved for the [mid-talk break and the]end of the
> session."

This is a great idea. We should do this with, and for, each of our speakers.

> > For this reason I close with selfish reason why one should behave:
> As usual, Beth Lynn is not being selfish, but aligns her reasons and
> intentions with the best benefit to WPLUG.

Nah, she's being perfectly selfish, and perfectly accurate! She wants
a decent talk as much as we do. The sorts of questions that we ask of
a speaker can be gleaned from her list of complaints.

> > 1. If we disgust a speaker, chances are that person will never speak
> > for us again.

What does the speaker want to hear during the talk, if anything?

Will there be a Q&A period?

> > 2. If we disgust our audience, new people will go away never to return
> > which guarantees that our community will never grow.

OT, but important: How can we make newcomers feel welcome?

> > 3. Regular wplugers might feel discouraged from speaking if the
> > audience gives the speaker a hard time.
> > 4. Even regulars may not want to come back if we consistently fail to
> > conduct professional lectures.

What should be the level of our speakers? Shall we mix it up, or
consistently have professionals? I suppose this is normally a matter
of when they're available.

> > 5. If you are particularly disruptive, the speaker will not be able to
> > cover all of the intended content therefore everyone loses out of the
> > additional learning experience.

How much do we know about the talk beforehand? This is actually
important. I thought last week's talk would be more about aviation!

> > 6. If the talk is interrupted too often, you get to eat cold pizza.
> > 7. If you stop to answer a phone call, you are stealing your own time
> > from listening to the presentation.

We should turn all cell phones off. No doubt about that.

> > 8. When we record a presentation, would you prefer to hear what the
> > speaker came to say or would you rather hear your own voice?

Another Q: can we record the speaker's talk? Some might object, though
we haven't had problems with it before.

> I know that I have been guilty of adding comments or questions
> occasionally; I like to think that for the most part, I have not been
> objectionable, and I would only do so at less formal talks. I will
> endeavour to curb my enthusiasm. 

Well, not entirely! I have no idea how our speaker this past Saturday
thought of our interruptions. Perhaps we should talk to them
afterwards, get some feedback. This is only going to be a continuing
process of refinement.

> The decision, once made in
> advance, should be firm.


> Duncan Hutty

David Ostroske <eksortso at gmail.com>

More information about the wplug-plan mailing list