17 October 2013

Excuse Me!

So I was in a conference recently, and wow, sometimes, I wonder whether some people appear "bright" only because they have a lot of bells and whistles and do plenty of hand-waving that the audience is awed, but that's about it. If you ask for substance, well, there wasn't any.

See, I was annoyed at one talk I heard in a conference I have attended in the past. The person presenting had plenty of material to present. That was not bad at all. However, this person could have slowed down a little when it comes to talking. Some (if not most) people in the audience do not have English as a first language, and if the number of slides of your presentation means that you have to go through 4 of them every minute, then I think that is just too much.

What's more annoying is that you should probably start the habit of actually listening to the questions that are being asked to you. That is simple human politeness. If someone asks you a question at the question period, then listen to the person asking the question, let the person finish asking the question first, before you start answering. Nobody here is omniscient; you cannot know what the question exactly is, until you hear the end of it. Don't anticipate what the question is and answer your anticipation-generated question; sometimes, what you anticipated and what the actual question actually differs.

I don't know. I didn't ask this person a question, not because I didn't find this person's talk interesting (it was highly interesting, in my opinion), but as much as this person's material was interesting, I didn't find this person pleasant. It is one thing to act like this if you're a very well-known scholar with a long track record of good research (even though I still find it unacceptable; it's simple politeness and social etiquette after all), but it is another to act like this when you're relatively new in the field. It makes me want to tell you that you still have plenty of bowls of rice to eat before you can receive a "Thou Shall Act Arrogantly" card.


  1. I guess some people are book smart but lack communication skills. Not listening is annoying... some managers are like that. Drives me crazy. They just like to hear themselves talk.

    1. Zhu,

      That's exactly what I thought, they just like to hear themselves talk, and that definitely drives me crazy. It makes you forget that they are smart, because it makes it hard to see beyond their arrogant behavior.