Sign of the Times; “Don’t shut off your phone/laptop/tablet, please use our #hashtag”


Once upon a time you would ask an audience to shut off their devices and put mobile phones into silent (and expect them to go in the pocket or bag out of sight).

My Uni lectures never requested this of students, it’s true. Why would we, we encouraged engagement from any method and some weeks we were happy with anything we got, via anywhere. Believe me.

Generally in the business world however, this is seen as poor form, or an inappropriate etiquette.

But… this is no longer true. Times have changed.

There is much more emphasis on the “help us promote our message through the #hashtag and your tweets“, or “I know I’m under the pump to keep you entertained and focused on what I’m saying.”

And I have personally experienced this first hand at the #smashthewalls seminar by @ausgeek and @grant_archer (Twitter names). The message was “Please put your phones into silent and Tweet away for us.” A great example of what Jeff Haden is currently pushing…

The article “10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say” BY JEFF HADEN, says, “Now people tweet the awesome quotes you produce or take notes on their iPads. Or they play solitaire or check Facebook. You can ask for the audience to turn their phones to silent mode, but apart from that you just have to make sure that your talk is so incredibly inspiring they will close their laptops because they don’t want to miss a second.”

It’s true. Demanding attention doesn’t work. Earning attention and asking for participation does. By asking for someone to #hashtag your messages you get a running commentary from another’s perspective, promotion of your key messages, and a focused audience member (working for you). It’s worked in the classroom, so why wouldn’t it work elsewhere.

Business is beginning to catch up.

Think about it. It’s a good strategy.

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