A Note on Conference Etiquette

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I still have a couple of sessions from the SCBWI 2010 Winter Conference to recap. However, as I flipped through my conference notebook this morning, I came across a page of notes I’d written between sessions. Notes on conference etiquette.

Those who know me will attest: I’m not a snarky person. And the last thing I want to do is use my blog as a place to gripe. But I remember the circumstances that caused me to jot these notes down. And if my posting them means someone else out there will have a good conference experience, then it will be worth the potential snark.

So, here it is.

[Begin snark]

Conference Etiquette: How not to be rude

  1. Arrive to the sessions on time.
  2. If you arrive late, make a quiet entrance. This does not mean banging your chair around, shuffling through your bags, etc., to get your stuff ready for the session that started ten minutes ago.
  3. Sit still and listen.
  4. That one bears repeating: Sit still and listen.
  5. Don’t talk. The person next to you does not want to discuss the lecture with you as it’s happening. They are listening.
  6. Don’t wiggle your legs or feet such that you distract those around you.
  7. If you wiggle your legs and feet and the person next to you asks you to please stop, do not respond, “Well, you shouldn’t have sat next to me.” This is what civilized people call rude.
  8. Don’t flip open your laptop halfway through the lecture to check your email. The clicking of your laptop keys is louder than you think. Taking notes about the session on your laptop is one thing. Distracting others for no other reason than you’re bored or uninterested is something else. Go check your email somewhere else. Or better yet, be courteous and listen.
  9. If you decide to leave early, leave quietly, doing your best not to disturb those around you.
  10. After you leave, don’t return again ten minutes later, wanting your same seat back.
  11. If you demand to have your same seat back, don’t repeat the previous ten steps again. It’s RUDE.

All of these can be boiled down to one simple rule: Be considerate of others. I’m sure your mother tried to teach you this at some point in your upbringing. Give it a try. You don’t want to be the rude person at the next conference you attend. Trust me. Someone like me will blog about you.

[/End snark]

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree? Have your own guidelines you’d like to add? Think I’m way off track?

Today I am going to see Rob Bell’s “Drops Like Stars” presentation. I am really looking forward to hearing him talk about creativity. Really looking forward to it. I hope those sitting around me are looking forward to it, too. I hope my seats are in the courteous section.

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7 thoughts on “A Note on Conference Etiquette

    Shannon said:
    February 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I agree. Considerate behavior goes a long way. I’d rather a person left a session than made it miserable for everyone around him/her. I would add:

    Save questions specific to your personal project until after the session.

    Keep your bags under your chair, not on the floor around it.

    Don’t treat everyone else as competitors, even if they are.

    Ask questions that can lead to wide discussion.

    Treat conference staff well – they’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes.

    Thanks for your posts, Amy!

    Suzanne said:
    February 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Oh yes! Could I add for the early birds that, sitting at the end of the row means everyone will have to climb over you to get to a seat and if you’ve got a bag on the floor, at least one person will get their foot caught in the strap and go A over T across the laps of the next three delegates. If you must sit on the outside, wait in the wings and fly in at the last moment or stick a book on your target and dare anyone, using devil eyes, to move it.
    Hw do I know this? Oh, well….

    Lynn said:
    February 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I totally agree! It seems like manners are just not important to most people anymore – it’s so sad! I was in line behind someone to drop off our portfolios – she didn’t have hers together and was trying to grab loose sheets out of her bag and put it together right there! It was unbelievable!!

    Diane Bedell said:
    February 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    These are things we try to teach in Elementary school. Sounds pretty basic. I think that we need to remind ourselves that one day we may be lucky enough to be the one giving the presentation. And it’s STRESSFUL.

    Lisa Nowak said:
    February 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I think I would have strangled the person sitting beside you. Okay, not really, because I’m totally non-confrontational, but I would have fantasized about it. 🙂

    Nicole Langan said:
    March 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I hope common courtesy isn’t a thing of the past.

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