Lecture Mode: A brief guide

LECTURE MODE: Everyone has met someone who gets onto their favorite subject and goes into so much detail you want to scream and run away.  Some of us share our families with people like that. In our family we have learned to laugh at what we call “LECTURE MODE”. We are all brainy, and we all tend to get into a groove with our favorite subjects, and so as a family we’ve worked on learning to control this tendency. The trick is learning to see it happening and do something to cut it off before the other person begins to look for an escape.

Lecture mode can make nearly anyone glaze over. A person who is made to glaze over will usually run away and avoid us in the future. So do we WANT to make that person glaze over? Do we WANT that person to avoid us? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and stay in Lecture Mode!

However, if you like the other person and want to spend time with them– you must learn to curb the tendency to go into LECTURE MODE.  Learning greater self control is part of developing in virtue.  We can know that as we master ourselves we become better persons and more welcome in groups. Mastering Lecture Mode is part of developing self control and self control feels good.

The process for developing the virtue of self control over Lecture Mode has several steps.  One must recognize it, pause, take a few deep breaths and deliberately break out of their own groove. This is very difficult and requires practice. It is so much harder to stop yourself when tired or upset. Knowing that one has been out in public long enough to get really stuck in Lecture Mode, is an important step in preventing it. Sadly, if you are tired you may only be able to watch the train wreck that is an uncontrollable Lecture.

We warn each other. While the person is going on and on and on about their current favorite passion, we will make eye contact and say, “LECTURE MODE.” Because of the conversations we have had about the negative side effects of getting into Lecture Mode, this little warning helps the person recognize that they are in Lecture Mode.

It takes practice, but once you learn to say, “Oh I’m sorry, I DO go on don’t I?” (or another favorite phrase to take responsibility for Lecture Mode and apologize for it) you begin to gain control over your tendency to fall into Lecture Mode; this phrase ought to be followed by a question about the last thing the other person said, or something like, “before I went on my bunny path, what were you saying?” Breathe deeply (and, if you must, bite your tongue or clench your jaws) to stay shut up long enough to hear that person talk until THEY are done.

Lecture Mode can become a family joke. It need not be a horrible thing, it can become, like a regional accent, just something that is part of the family culture.  Recognizing it, accepting someone pointing it out, and taking action to control yourself will all result in a more satisfying social life!

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