Here‘s the final summary of responses I received about texting during a workshop. Some of them raised more questions for me like “Is it really less important to communicate with those we are with than with those not physically present?”
• Pretend people are using their electronic device to take notes or tweet what a terrific presenter you are.
• Generational communication differences will continue to evolve with smartphones and electronic devices connecting people to their busy lives. This phenomenon will only become more common. (I do not believe this gives anyone a reason to be discourteous and disrespectful to the presenter. Perhaps, these people are too busy to attend workshops? Are people any busier than they were 10 years ago? Are we as vital as we think we are?
• It is a generation thing. It’s now okay to talk during a presentation or program. And let’s not get started on writing, spelling, math skills … ! (Sounds as if you may not think it is necessarily for the best.)
• It’s the people who are not paying attention who lose the most.
I chose to stop my presentation momentarily and ask the participants to please refrain from using their electronic devices during the rest of the program, which they did. One of the people sat stoically until the end. Another came up and shared how very much he enjoyed the presentation and how much he had learned.