If you don’t want to listen, GET OUT!

When I was sitting through the SNOUG conference, I had not as usual, a seat in the front row. I prefer sitting up front, because I hear better and I don’t have to look around heads, to see the slides. Now this time I was sitting probably in the fifth row and during the day, something struck me. There were a lot of „listeners“ just doing other things. Replying to emails, look at their phones for the length of a speech. Some of them around me, never ever listened to the poor guys in front. They came, got their gear out and started typing. Why did they come in the first place? Just to have a quite spot to get some work done? Are their bosses against home office? Some of those were IBMers. Did they come just to get the seats filled?
Once I told an IBMer sitting beside me during a speech to stop typing, because the clack-e-di-clack was just annoying. I personally find this behavior highly impolite. That is just something you don’t do. That person in front is working his/her butt off, to give us information, that could probably be important to us in the future and all they do is showing absolutely no interest whatsoever. They are not even politely pretending it.
It’s like the management summary. I am pretty sure, you could write a technical report of 50 pages with „Lorem ipsum“-Text and add a management summary in front, most would not realise it. Why bother to write the report in the first place? Just write management summaries. If somebody has a question, they can still ask.
But for the future, if you have other things to do than listening to a speech, get out! If you want to check your emails, wait for a break (good anti-smart-phone-junkie-training BTW)!
It is nobodies intention to be impolite, but notebooks, tablets and smartphones have given us access always and everywhere. It takes just a tiny bit of common sense and empathy to realise, that showing openly no interest whatsoever in somebodies work isn’t nice at all.
Another tip. If you have a date with a very nice person, leave your damn phone in the car/at home/in the bin/in the Mississippi. If she/he is not doing it, get up, while she/he is on the phone and leave. She/he is obviously not interested in you and therefore she/he can pay the bill.