Q. I could not believe the arrogance exhibited at a recent convention. One of the speakers even said “God gave me a message for you today and He’ll forgive me for taking the time I need.” That was rude to the last presenter who only had a fraction of the allotted time and who had the most helpful content of all! I was so frustrated! What was with their brains? Where was the moderator?
A. Good questions. I’ve puzzled over this type of behavior myself, especially when I was the last speaker for the morning (or afternoon) and those preceding me exceeded their allotted time in a somewhat cavalier manner me exceeded their allotted time in a somewhat cavalier manner (to my way of thinking).
The speaker who robs others of platform time is a thief of sorts, taking something beyond what was allotted. When that is done in the name of religion it is all the more odious. I imagine it is difficult for the seminar host or moderator to know how to proceed at times. Some actually announce in advance that there will be a five-minute warning given and then the public address system will be turned down. On the other hand, one speaker I heard announced as he began his presentation that “the PA operator is my employee, and if he knows what is good for him the PA will stay turned on!” Some hosts have indicated they refuse to invite long-winded speakers back.
What was with their brains? I wish I knew. Their behavior may involve a form of arrogance—they really believe that what they have to say is more valuable than what others can present. Or it may involve low EQ (emotional intelligence) where they have poorly developed skills related to situational appropriateness. Either way, my perception is that self-esteem issues are involved. Perhaps an overinflated sense of one’s worth prompts the individual to run rough shod over other speakers in a way that he/she would likely not want to be treated. This perspective doesn’t make their disrespectful behaviors go away. It does help remind me to avoid taking it personally.
A wise mentor once told me that it takes far more wisdom, experience, and skill to present succinctly and to stay within time parameters than it does to drone on ad infinitum. Consequently, I can even chuckle when I’m waiting for my turn to speak and the minutes allotted to me are ticking away. Seeing the humor helps keep my brain from downshifting.
If I end up on the short end of the time stick and only have 20 minutes instead of 90 minutes, I simply offer one aspect of my planned presentation and let it go at that. It’s a choice—to get frustrated and upset and expend valuable energy, or to deal with what is. I choose to avoid expending my valuable life-force resources in reaction to another person’s behavior.