Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shut up and listen

Alan Jacobs, annoyed by multiple distractions during a lecture, composes "rules for lecture attendance" — rules that would be equally appropriate on other occasions, in church or at the theater, for instance. I identified with his annoyance. The last four of his rules:
  • Turn your stupid, stupid, stupid cell phone off, and never look at it during the lecture.
  • If you plan to take notes, do so on paper. Do not haul out your laptop and make your neighbors try to listen to the speaker over the constant rattling of your keyboard.
  • Shut up. Listen to the speaker. Don't say anything to anyone at any time — unless, during Q&A time, you actually have question you'd like to know the answer to. (Note that almost none of the people who ask questions of public speakers are interested in getting real answers.)
  • Do not eat anything. What are you, some kind of barbarian? Wait until the lecture is over and then eat in a place appropriate for eating. No one listening to a lecture wants to smell your food or hear you chew, swallow, and suck your drink. No one.
Alan Jacobs: rules for lecture attendance