Tuesday, March 13, 2012

less disparate bits, after a conference.

in most of my recent talks, an audience member always interrupts me with questions or comments.  most of the time it is a matter of clarification, which is suggestive that, apparently ..
  1. i'm not good at details while at the chalkboard;
  2. i'm not scary or intimidating enough to stop people from asking questions. q-:
i'm probably repeating myself here, but i used to hate questions.  they would unnerve me with their suddenness, throw me off my rhythm.  sometimes after answering a question, i'd completely forget what i was talking about, and it would take a few silent seconds to recollect.

(those seconds probably felt like strange, awkward minutes to those audiences.)

i guess i've gotten used to questions.  in fact, now i tend to expect them more than not, and a silent audience is becoming an exception and odd.  they're a good sign, i suppose: it means that somebody is listening, even if they don't quite understand me.

until recently i've never asked questions at the end of talks .. not publicly, anyway.  to be honest, questions don't come naturally to me.

more often than not, i'm thinking through what the speaker has just said, or trying to determine whether the discussion is related to anything i've seen before.

far be it for me to take crucial minutes of the speaker's time and ask for help to jog my memory!

so i tried a different tack at the special session: i tried to ask every speaker a question, at the end of their talk.

suffice it to say: i found it quite hard to think of good, relevant questions. it helped that my co-organiser and i were the ones to got to chose the speakers, of course, and clearly we opted for reasonably comprehensible people ..

.. but knowing my own experiences, i hope that i didn't throw anyone off their game ..!

perhaps i'll change my ways, perhaps not .. but it's certainly given me a new benchmark for attentiveness: if you're following a talk, then usually you can think of a good question for the speaker.

1 comment:

Leonid said...

This should help...