Last week, I was a participant in a full day seminar. There were about a dozen of us in attendance and the information and speaker were excellent. You can imagine my surprise when after re-convening from a 10-minute break, one of the participants stayed on his cell phone to conduct business at the back of a small room we were in. Now, I understand things happen, but here’s the deal…
How is it possible that this guy disrupts the presentation by conducting his business in a small room while everyone else is trying to listen? Not only is it rude to the speaker and the rest of the audience, it’s rude to whoever he is talking to on the phone. He made no attempt to keep his voice down and was truly a distraction to everyone.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as the phone caller, do everyone a favor and take your business and phone call OUTSIDE the room and make sure the door is closed. If the call is THAT important to take you away from the seminar, then give it its due by being present for the person on the other end of the phone. Be considerate of the other people who want to listen and to the speaker who has an important message to present.
If you find yourself the presenter in this situation, don’t hesitate to ask the audience member to please leave the room. You can invite them back when they are done, but your audience is not getting your best if you allow a disruption like this to happen.
Final thought – my guess is that the call was not an emergency (after all, I couldn’t help but hear part of it). Cellular phones are good business tools but we don’t have to answer every call or respond to every problem immediately. If you spend the time and money to attend a seminar, be present to that and take and make phone calls in the appropriate time and place.