Sunday, July 24, 2011

Conference etiquette

Conferences are a wonderful way to learn more about your job, network, or simply explore personal growth. If you are preparing to attend one, please remember that manners are just as important at conferences as they are anywhere else.

Here are just a few tips for registered guests:

• Remember that guests paid to hear the lecturer’s expertise. Please refrain from whispering or chatting incessantly while the presenter is speaking.

• Similarly, if an attendee asks a question, let the lecturer answer it — don’t jump in to answer it yourself or otherwise derail or monopolize the conversation.

• If your workshop does not require you to have your laptop, iPad or other tech equipment out on the table, keep it in your bag and look at the presenter as he or she is talking.

• Remember to silence those cell phones! If you are expecting an extremely important call, be prepared to take it out in the hallway.

• If you have questions, write them down—most presenters will tell you there will be time at the end of the session to answer questions.

• Arriving late or leaving early can be a distraction. But what if the session you are in is starting to run late, and you have another session to attend? Stay until the last possible moment, and then quietly make your exit. Then, later, either speak to or leave a note for the presenter who was running late, apologizing for leaving early but explaining that you had to get to the next session. Be sure to tell the speaker how much you enjoyed the presentation, and mention if you've learned something new - that way, you can turn something negative (leaving early) into something positive (conveying that you learned valuable information).

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