Talking During a Presentation or Performance

There is a very good reason why theater managers ask you to unwrap candy and turn off cell phones, pagers and beepers before a performance begins. This is to keep theater patrons from being disturbed or distracted during the performance.

Never mentioned is a request to refrain from talking. One would assume adults know better than to carry on a conversation during such an event. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

I can’t count the number of times two people seated near me continued to talk after the curtain had gone up or a speaker had started their presentation. Have you ever tried watching a movie while the person behind you announces the scenes play-by-play before they happen?

The rule is quite simple. Do not talk during a performance or presentation.

My college students have learned I will not speak while anyone else in the classroom is speaking. When I step in front of the class, you can hear a pin drop.

What should you do if you find yourself sitting next to chatty Cathys or babbling Bobs? Body language is usually very effective. A turn of your head with an index finger on your lips usually does the trick. If it doesn’t, very quietly tell them you cannot hear the speaker or performers. The people also sitting around the chatters will most likely appreciate your gesture.

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