If you want my attention, give me yours

Turn off your cell phone so you can provide undivided attention

Just have to get something off my chest today. It’s one of my pet peeves that, unfortunately, is becoming too common. What is it?

People who leave their cell phones on during meetings and react to messages.

This happened to me recently. I was meeting with another businessman to discuss some joint opportunities. It was in a social setting, so we were both relaxed. Plus, I know him almost well enough to call him a friend. (Which itself was an issue; more on that.)

Throughout our 90-minute discussion, his cell phone prompted repeatedly. Each time he would glance down to read the message. He even took a call at one point. I really wanted to tell him to turn off the blasted phone, but I couldn’t. Friendship got in the way.

What’s the point?

Despite the ubiquitous nature of cell phones and related devices, decorum still exists (or should). It comes down to common courtesy. If you must take a call during a discussion, mention that at the outset of the meeting. Otherwise, turn off your phone so you can provide your undivided attention. You want that in return, right?

This reminds of an incident from my office days. My manager–a great guy, by the way–had this nasty habit of responding to email prompts during the sales meetings. The busy guy that he was, his email program was pinging about every five minutes. Sure enough, he’d spin is head to the side and read the message. Then he’d return to our meeting.

It was rude back then, and it’s rude today. Business people need to rein in their addiction to the cell phone. Turn it off before meetings; that’s what you have voice mail for. My cell phone is off most of the time, yet I am able to respond to messages in a timely manner.

Remember the old adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” You would like to be treated with respect, right? You bet. Turn off the phone, and enjoy–and learn from–that meeting.

Have you faced a similar incident? How did you handle it? Feel free to comment below.

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Tom Fuszard, content writer, blog writing, pr writing, web copy



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