One of the things I love, and sometimes am overwhelmed by, is etiquette is all about the details. When I’m giving a training, on say dining etiquette, I always get questions about the littlest things such as “If I take something like an olive pit out of my mouth where do I put it?” It can sometimes seem silly to care about such seemingly little details, but when it makes you and others around you more comfortable those details matter.
Last week I attended a lunch presentation where those details were overlooked and they made for a somewhat uncomfortable situation.
The presenter was properly introduced by one of the organization’s board members. But, when the presenter was starting to wrap up, the introducer stood up and hovered near him. I could see the presenter felt he needed to hurry because of the introducer’s presence. It was a little awkward that the introducer stood so near to the presenter while he was still talking.
The presenter then ended his presentation. The introducer thanked him then immediately turned to the presenter while still on the “stage” and started to talk to him. The introducer had his back to the audience and obscured the view of the presenter as he talked to him. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t know what they were talking about and whether there was more to the presentation or if it was over. Finally, someone stood up and said the meeting was over.
What went wrong here? While it’s OK for the introducer or MC to subtly signal to the presenter that the time is up, it was a bit rude for the introducer to stand so near the presenter while he was still talking. I could see doing this if the presenter was way over time, but the presenter was wrapping up on time.
Second, the stage is somewhat of a sacred space. The introducer should have let the audience applaud for the presenter, state the meeting was over, then move the conversation off the stage.
All little details, but, they show respect for the presenter and the audience. And, respect and courtesy are what it’s all about.