Rules for attending a workshop

Rules for attending a workshop

Do you make these simple mistakes when attending a workshop?

Recently I attended a full day technology workshop and during the course of the day I decided that apart from giving out the usual housekeeping rules at the start, such as fire drills, where the toilets were etc, there should be some rules given out about etiquette.

I went to the event as I wanted to learn something new and refresh my knowledge.  The incredibly talented @mrmattyoung was the speaker and what he doesn’t know about social media isn’t worth knowing.

So I found it incredibly annoying not to be able to fully concentrate with the amount of distraction from other attendees in the room.  From constant chattering (quite simply rude), to constant coughing (quite simply irritating) and ringing of mobiles (quite simply unnecessary) there were too many people who were not aware of the rules of etiquette when attending a workshop.

As I couldn’t find any rules of etiquette readily available to hand out to future attendees at events, I have created some of my own.


If you have a cough that is constant, either leave the room or at the very least, move to the back of the room to give those sitting in front a chance of hearing something the speaker is saying.  To sit at the front of the room and to constantly and persistently cough and splutter deprives others sat further back of hearing what is being said by the speaker.  If you have a bit of a tickle before the event, always arm yourself with copious amounts of cough sweets and a large bottle of water.


Sneezing and blowing of nose.  The same rules apply as above (apart from taking cough sweets with you as I have never known these to work with sneezing).  Apart from the obvious distraction and irritancy of someone constantly sneezing, it is also concerning as to the amount of germs that are being spread.  And unless you are discreet, loud nose blowing that ends up sounding like Nellie the elephant trying to audition for X-factor can reduce other attendees into fits of giggles and disrupt the whole room.

Mobile phones

If you are going to a technology event it is highly likely that you will have some basic knowledge or interest in the subject matter before attending.  Therefore, I suspect it highly likely that you know how to turn your phone to silent.  So do it!!!  No one else cares how important you are that you have to keep your phone on just in case the President of the USA decides to call and ask for your advice.  If you are expecting an urgent call, just use the silent button and then discreetly remove yourself from the room if your phone starts to flash up with an incoming call.  But please, if possible, turn the thing off and put in your bag or out of sight.  If you constantly keep checking it to see if you have that missed call from the White House then you won’t truly be focusing on what the speaker is saying and may miss a valuable point.

Go with an open mind

If you think you know everything already and are not prepared to listen to new ideas, then why waste time and money attending an event?  I have been to many events where I have been in earshot of people who blatantly state that they don’t agree and are not going to try something.  Firstly, if they went with an open mind and listened to what was being said and thought about why it obviously worked for others, they may be able to find ways the subject could work for them also.

But secondly, and possibly more pertinent, try just keeping negative opinions to yourself as if you are so rude as to openly disagree and state that something will not work, others around may start to have doubts and miss out on new opportunities for themselves.

At the technology event I attended, cloud computing was being discussed by the speaker.  Someone not far from me was blatantly stating  that the cloud should not be used or trusted.  Whilst anyone with experience would realise they were talking nonsense, the person sitting next to them without any experience would have had their view of the speaker compromised in an entirely unfair and unjustified manner.

Keep conversations to the break

If you prefer to have personal chats with people rather than listen to the speaker, then either don’t turn up to the event or leave the room if you are just not interested in what is being said.  When you decide to whisper to others around you, this causes distraction to not only the person you are speaking to, but also others within earshot.  It is being blatantly rude to the speaker and whilst they won’t be able to hear what you are saying, believe me, they will pick up on what you are doing and it will cause them distraction also.


So there are my etiquette tips for when you are next attending a workshop.  You may agree or disagree.  But just consider others around you and the effect you may be having on them when you let your manners slip.