Saturday, June 6, 2015

 Audience Etiquette and Common Sense Manners

As a speaker, presenter and business owner, I attend many events.  The key to successful speaking is keeping the audience engaged.  A difficult task for some, but those of us more seasoned, a reality and priority. 

On a recent morning, I attending an event and decided that I would pay close attention to the audience at hand.  Their mannerisms, their facial expressions and body language. 
Much to my dismay, I observed the following.  Many people had their arms crossed and seemed uptight and disinterested.  Several were fiddling with their phones, others staring blankly at the presenter with a less than happy facial expression. Where was the respect for the speaker?  Was it such a painful process to sit and hear a highly successful business owner that you had to cross your arms hastily?   Were the emails that you were pouring over so important that they could not wait until you left the event?  Was 9 am too early for you that you had to offer this facial expression to the speaker? 

Now before you go off on me with umpteen reasons why this behavior should be acceptable, put yourself in the presenters shoes for just a moment.  How would you feel if you looked out and saw this occurring during your speech?  And, by the way, this was an event where I paid to go, eagerly seeking the speakers knowledge and expertise.  This was not a forced attendance or required event.

As I witnessed these obvious faux pas' I decided that a quick review of audience etiquette was necessary.  Perhaps the audience was not aware of their indiscretions, nonetheless, we should remember to be respectful. 

Next time you are at an event with a speaker, SMILE.   Look engaged (even if you are not!)  Show the speaker the courtesy of interest.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Reflect the body language and facial expressions that you would like to see in an audience.  And lastly, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY.  Respect and courtesy go a long way in everyday interactions.   Be the person you want to meet.

 Karen A. Thomas
Certified Etiquette / Civility Consultant

(860) 387-1282

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