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

Michael Semcheski lists at immuneit.com
Tue May 3 23:02:06 EDT 2005

Duncan Hutty wrote:
> 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."

It is my opinion that as an audience member, sometimes it can be tough
enough to hear the speaker (perhaps I've been exposed to too many power
supply fans over the years).

As a speaker, it can definitely be distracting and frustrating to have
to deal with comments from the audience.  If you have never spoken in
front of 20 or more people before, you may not realize how difficult it
can be.

It is beyond me that people do this, I do not have any really practical
ideas about how to deal with the audience, other than shooting dirty
looks.  But people that pick up on these types of social queues
generally aren't the ones that are disruptive.

I don't think it's reasonable to ask the speaker before hand if they
want  a formal style or not -- I personally might be a bit sheapish
about asking for a captive audience.  I believe that the speaker should
get that much respect unless they specifically ask for a 'wide open' format.

Perhaps if the meetings were run more formally -- with specific rules
read and a mission statement, it would convey the right tone.  Please
don't quote me on that.  "Please do not engage in crosstalk and save all
comments for the end.  Also take this opportunity to turn off cell
phones or pagers as a courtesy to the speaker."  It doesn't have to be a
big deal, just to remind people.


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