I have been spending the last few days "working" at the Work Matters Conference in the UCD business school, which has essentially entailed me sitting in on quite a few interesting talks about research done about various work areas ranging from the aspirations of migrant workers to the uncovering of rebel activity in a luxury hotel.
Although I have found these talks very enjoyable, I have been a slight bit disappointed to observe the degree of what I would class as disrespect (although more subtle than the term might suggest) between the Academics attending the conference.
There are 3 main things I have noticed that I found slightly amiss:
- Punctuality - People continually strolling into talks ten minutes late as if there were nothing wrong with it at all. It is obvious to see that this does have an impact on the presenter and acts as a distraction for the next minute or so as they try and get all their bits and pieces in order. I find this quite surprising as they are all lecturers themselves and I'm sure wouldn't be to tolerant of such a casual attitude towards punctuality from their students.
- Q&A Time - I remember when I was in 1st year in college, that at the end of presentations I would always make a point of asking an intentionally tricky questions... just because I was mean. When I saw this happening at the conference, and on a regular basis, I was shocked. Some of these guys ask questions such as "OH.... you didn't think of studying x,y,z etc..." questions that seem to serve no other point but to make the presenter squirm.
- The Presentation Itself - I have sat through 15 presentations in the last 2 days, with the exception of literally one, they have been appalling. Poor/no slides, poor/no preparation, poor/no timekeeping and often going over the allotted time... pretty unbelievable I thought. People have travelled from the 4 corners of the world to attend this conference and what do they see when they get here? The crappiest bunch of presentations I have seen in a long time, and content that adds no further value than if they had just read the damn paper at home with a nice cup of coffee in hand! I'm sure that the presenters lack of practice and preparation was as annoyingly obvious to everyone else too, and to be honest it even peeved me off a bit, and I'm just a lowly student.
With all that said though, I have very much enjoyed the content and theories discussed over the past few days, but I just think that a little more respect between attendees would make the whole thing even better.