Changing Your Public Speaking Environment
I've been chatting to a fellow delegate, Trisha Conroy, today. She is really fun to be with. Our conversation went something like this...
"Weren't we lucky to be in such a beautiful setting on Wednesday?"
"Absolutely!" I said. Dorfold Hall, a Jacobean mansion house in Cheshire is indeed stunning.
"The bleeping behind you was a lady on her mobile doing texts or emails!? I had to tell her off and to put it away! I couldn’t believe she was on her phone whilst Candice was talking about the estate. I glared for the first 4 bleeps and then politely asked her to turn it off and put it way!"
Again, I agreed that she was absolutely right.
"I told Tricia , the event organiser before I left in case they complained that I had told her to turn it off! It must have been off-putting for Candice Roundell. So she was well and truly ‘grassed up !' I just thought it was really rude – I bet you would have called her out if you were speaking... and I bet it would have been hilarious!"
Being Your Best Self
At this point I have to admit that I burst out laughing. The child within me was savouring the idea of calling her out! Yes I’d have made it fun and at the same time got the phone to silent straightaway. I would have changed the environment yet at the same time alienating no-one. A speaker's job at this type of event is also be inclusive, And that was what Candice did by ignoring the bleeping bleeps. I suspect she was so focused on her talk that she did not really register the distraction.
To close off the conversation I added,
"It seems as organisers that we still have to remind delegates about phone etiquette."Yet Trisha was for having the last word,
"Yes - but you absolutely shouldn’t have to!" And of course she is right. It is up to each and everyone of us to be our best of selves.
I believe the number one grievance in the eyes of an audience is a speaker who displays poor time keeping. My mantra is arrive early, stay late and run at least 3 minutes ahead of the schedule. Folks never mind if you end 5 minutes early, In fact, they love you for it. You are showing respect for them, the organiser and any other speakers on the platform.
From a speaker's perspective a delegate who interrupts a talk by being on the phone is rudeness personified. Let me clarify, I love my audience to use their devices to take photos and Tweet. However they should always be silent, so as not to distract or disturb others.
Dos and Don'ts
There are dos and don'ts when it comes to phones at events. What you do in a conference is different to what you do in a gym or a concert. Always check you are doing the right thing, at the right time in the right setting.