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Never Use Your Phone During an Academic Presentation

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academic-conference-mobile-phone-useThere are many places in the world where society has attempted to eliminate mobile phone use. Commercial airplanes appear to be the only place that has successfully instituted a no tolerance policy. Movie theaters wish they could do the same thing, as do most moviegoers. Alas, they cannot sit next to every single person and force them to keep their phones stored. As a result, one of the many complaints of why people avoid movie theaters is mobile phone usage.

Most academic conferences attempt to institute such policies as well, but attendees, professors, and presenters all use mobile phones. I personally saw the chair of a panel texting throughout each presentation and even laughing in response to texts. To this day, I cannot think of that professor without remembering her rudeness.

This is an extreme example, but using your mobile phone during any academic presentation has multiple negative effects.

  1. It distracts the presenter. The worst feeling as a presenter is that you are boring people or losing their attention. Even if a presenter is struggling, do not use your phone and pile onto their moment.
  2. It distracts other attendees. The light from your phone immediately draws wandering eyes. Now your action is detracting away from the audience. The presenters should not have to compete with your selfish act.
  3. It reflects poorly on you. You have no idea who is sitting around you in the conference. Professors, friends, and family members will pass immediate judgment on you while you pull out your mobile phone during a presentation.

This is a call for you to treat academic panels as a short commercial flight. Turn off your mobile devices and store them away. Be professional and stay off your phone for a mere hour and a half.

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

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