I attended three industry events in the past two weeks; a heavy reception, lunch and a sit-down dinner. At all three events, there was a featured speaker or a series of presenters. In each case, we knew prior to attending that there would be speakers and the topic they would be covering (for some of us, this was the main reason for attending).
At all three of these events, the attendees were actively networking with each other. We were busy catching up on the latest news and enjoying each other’s company, as we always do in our industry. However, when the speaker went on stage…the talking did not stop.
As experienced professionals in the hospitality industry, we know the importance of the speaker and how in some cases it can make or break the event. We spend hours around conference tables debating who would be a good session leader, what topics we want covered, and how to engage the audience. If we know the importance of the speaker to the success of an event, why were we not respectful of these presenters?
I am not going to address the topic that we should know better (oops, I guess I already did). I am going to share with you the three questions that ran through my mind at each of these events. If this were my event:
1. Would I politely interrupt the presentation and ask the audience to please be quiet?
2. Would I make my way around the room politely asking the attendees for their attention?
3. Would I ignore it and hope the attendees stopped talking?
The hosts of the events I attended chose option three and it did not work out well for them. I am curious to know; what would you do?