The Standing “O”


Bloggers note: The following is a feeble attempt at humour with a subject low in substance (educationally speaking).

I have often wondered about the standing “O”, especially at conferences and again in recent days.

Now really, I understand what it is all about.  Standing “O’s” are given so a group can recognize and give accolades to the outstanding performance just witnessed.   Sometimes they are given to honour someone, for their careers work.  See Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, etc.

With this in mind, I wonder why standing “O’s” are given at conferences for keynote speakers.

Now do not get me wrong, some speakers deserve accolades, especially if they are talented enough to keep a room’s attention for an extended period of time.  In my case, if you keep me interested for a significant portion of a presentation, you are doing something.  I think that portion is about 2 min. max!

What perplexes me is the number of keynotes who get a standing “O”.  Do they all deserve this, especially after I hear about the fees they charge.

Maybe they should be giving the audience one? Maybe I am in the wrong profession?

The usual drill includes the keynote concluding their presentation,  people leave and in typical human fashion comment on what they witnessed.  In many cases, mixed reviews about the presentation, some thoughts downright negative.  However, at the end we still had – you guessed it a standing “O”.

Consider this post my weak rallying cry to set a new trend.

Basically, when keynotes end, a warm ovation is good, thanks you’s from the conference committee, etc.  I think that is all these people are asking for anyway.

We should set the trend now – only standing “O’s” for the deserving.  In fifteen years, I can count on one hand who would be deserving of this honour.

My plea to educators:  Don’t let the standing “O” lose substance.  Deliver only when deserved!

Actually, maybe people are just happy to stretch their legs?

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  1. Hahahaha! I love this post — mostly just because I agree with you! It’s akin to leaving a tip for crappy service at a restaurant. If I “always” leave 15% despite attitude and mess-ups, then the extra-strong 20% that I leave for “good” service is somewhat negated 🙂

    Of course, if I ever get asked to keynote, I fully expect people I know to give a standing ovation simply to boost my ego a bit! lol

      • Dave Bircher
      • May 7th, 2010

      Good comparison! Thx for the comment and yes tipping can be a problem!

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