The lost art of applauding

27.10.2005Osebno

It`s just something I noticed recently I guess, with all the seminars and oral presentations going on on the faculty. And every single time, people applauded in the end.

OK, here`s what dictionary.com has to say about applause.

1. Approval expressed especially by the clapping of hands.
2. Praise; commendation: a scientific discovery that won critical applause.

Approval or/and praise. Something positive. in general.

But it seems that applause is being used just for the sake of it. As if it was something that has to be done and everybody is just saying “Oh what the hell…let`s do it!“. To me, this attitude is very disturbing. I hate when people applaude me. And on the other hand, I only applaude when something is either a) intereseting b) well-prepared or c) both. From which I can deduct that I applaude only when “the price is right” and not just cause the event ended. And even then with only a few claps. This “clap you hands off eventhough the whole thing sucks and I never listened to it in the first place” culture frame is not my cup of tea.

This auto-pilot clapping does more damage than good. First, it makes the author think that he/she did a good job, eventhough that is sometimes not the case. The author then assumes the level of its presentation is high and does not need any tweaking. Second, it lowers the standards for such presentations, since everybody is always clapping, therefor expressing approval becomes something necessary. The whole thing turns from “you can applaude” to “you must applaude“, ruining the whole point of an applause.

Please, the next time think before you clap your hands together. It`s not just for kids!

 

4 komentarjev na “The lost art of applauding

  1. ill-advised

    I personally think of applause as a way of thanking the author for making the effort — for taking the trouble of preparing and performing his presentation/talk/concert/whatever. Even if it wasn’t very good, I try to be a decent person and assume that the author at least made an honest effort, and I wouldn’t like to hold his lack of talent against him. After all, if I were in his shoes, I’d probably do even worse. In my opinion, the applause helps build a sense of community between the performer and the audience, the sense that they have both partaken in a shared experience. Not applauding would be a sign of small-minded stinginess. Besides, it would be presumptuous to require the performer to be perfect when I as a member of the audience have many imperfections.

     
  2. Marko

    ill-advised said it better than I ever could. I also think no two applauses are equal and you can distinguish from them the level of satisfaction of the audience.

     
  3. domen

    I just hate it when people think that applause is mandatory. It loses all meaning that way. And it`s not about perfection since that is an subjective term. It`s more about, like the ill-advised said, the feeling or sharing something with the performer. And if the whole thing flies by you on a more personal level, then there`s no need for applause. A thought to ponder on – why don`t we applaude the teachers then? I am talking about a specific case of school seminars when whenever there`s a fellow student in front of the class, everybody applaudes him/her, but the teachers go unrewarded. And they usually produce a better show.

     

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