I was a motivational speaker for a large insurance company last week in Louisville, Kentucky. The other guest speaker was delivering her motivational speech amidst whispers and talking throughout the room.
Many times a delegate would turn and "shush" the inattentive participants, but to no avail. Finally, a tall red-headed woman stood up and declared that talking while the guest speaker was speaking was quite simply rude, and showed very bad etiquette and poor manners. Suddenly the room was quiet.
From time to time, I notice that manners are lacking at a conference. Here are some of the things that I have seen that I think are rude:
- Talking, whispering or laughing while the guest speaker or motivational keynote speaker is speaking
- Completely tuning out a presentation whi.le tuning into some technology or device. Some distraction via technology may be unavoidable but complete absorbtion in technology means you really shouldn't be there.
- Taking a cell phone call during the motivational keynote speaker, (yup it happens) talking loudly, and disturbing the rest of the event.
- Continually getting up to take a call, coming back in the room, then taking another call . . . (repeat) (repeat) (repeat).
- Nodding off during the guest speaker is not rude. It will happen if the speech is boring or the attendee lacks rest. However, if you're that tired, go get some sleep!
- Passive-aggressive body language (folding arms, rolling eyes, sighing loudly) is misbehaving especially if it gets in the way of learning for the rest of the group.
- Refusing to participate in interactive group activities, which leaves people around you wondering what to do (and partnerless). If you are there to learn - participate.