Today’s post doesn’t deal with any weighty issues. Instead, it has a simple seminar tip I wish more people knew: if you are giving a presentation from your own laptop, turn wifi off before you start your talk.
I’m sure there are exceptions where someone would need to be connected to the internet during a talk, but in my experience, the vast majority of seminar speakers do not need to be connected to the internet.
What is the downside to being connected? If you forget to fully quit Skype or turn off your desktop notifications, all those pop ups will be distracting (and potentially embarrassing).
In seminars I’ve been in, the Skype pop ups are the most common distraction. They are a minor distraction a distraction nonetheless. And if they turn from the “soandso is online” ones to instant messages from contacts, they can quickly become bigger distractions. The desktop notifications of new emails, tweets, etc. are very distracting (and have even greater potential for embarrassment!) And, yes, this happens even when the speaker is from somewhere else (but has connected to the university wireless at some point during their visit).
So, turn off wifi before you give a talk, so no one in your audience will look like this during your talk: