March 24, 2013

By: 
Rachel Strella

4 Dumb Things We Do to Speakers

Social Media Seminars As part of the promotions for my new product, The Social Media Jump Start Kit,  I’ve been speaking about various social media topics to regional groups and organizations. Nearly all of the audiences and attendees have been great, and I have really enjoyed their enthusiasm. But, speaking to an audience that’s less than attentive is something that every speaker has experienced at one time or another. And just when I think I’ve seen it all, there still seems to be that one person in the audience that surprises me.  This has led me to create a short list that explains ‘audience etiquette’- from avoiding general rudeness to staying awake!

  1. Do not interrupt the speaker. I’m more than willing to answer a question for clarification. That doesn’t mean you should repeatedly interject with senseless questions (see point #3) as if you’re the only person in the audience. 
  1. Do not carry on conversations during the presentation. A nod of the head, a laugh, and even a quick whisper to the person next you is acceptable, in my eyes.  But carrying on full-length conversations with people from the audience – or on your cell phone! – is rude and disrespectful. 
  1. Do not ask absurd questions. For those who say there is no such thing as a dumb question, I should bring them with me to one of my presentations.  Waiting until 40 minutes into the presentation to THEN ask, “what’s social media?” is one of them!
  1. Do not fall asleep. This happens more often than you think, especially with presentations that are right after lunch. Once your head is perched on the shoulder of the person next to you, you’ve gone too far! It might be time for a cup of coffee!

Overall, I’ve been very fortunate to deliver presentations to groups who are courteous and attentive. In fact, just last week, I encountered the best audience yet when I spoke to the Delaware Valley CUES.  They were model attendees!  As for those few who are guilty of any of the above, you know who you are and I will be sure to throw a jelly bean at you if we meet again!

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