Dr. Travis Bradberry on smart phones: don’t take them into meetings. Few things will turn someone off to you quite like a mid-conversation text or even quick glance to your phone (sure, you are busy and important and you are the one person in the world who can actually can multi-task, but that doesn’t matter to the people in the meeting with you. Confession: I sometimes take (and use) my phone in meetings. I have my excuses, but that’s what they are: excuses).
According to research from the USC Marshall School of Business, using your phone at inappropriate times annoys your boss and colleagues (if you care about things like that). If you work with women or people over 40, they’re even more perturbed by it than everyone else. Researchers found:
86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings.
84% think it’s inappropriate to text or email during meetings.
66% think it’s inappropriate to text or email during lunch meetings.
The more people make, the less they approve of smartphone use.
The study also found the millennials are three times more likely than those over 40 to think smartphone use during meetings is ok. Ironically, millennials are highly dependent upon the opinions of their older colleagues for career advancement.
TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence of more than a million people and found that millennials have the lowest self-awareness in the workplace, making them unlikely to see that their smartphone use in meetings is harming their careers.
Why do so many find smartphone use in meetings to be inappropriate? When you take out your phone it shows a:
Lack of respect. You consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand, and you view people outside the meeting to be more important than those sitting in front of you.
Lack of attention. You are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
Lack of listening. You aren’t practicing active listening, so no one around you feels heard.
Lack of power. You are like a modern-day Pavlovian dog who responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
Lack of self-awareness. You don’t understand how ridiculous your behavior looks to other people.
Lack of social awareness. You don’t understand how your behavior affects those around you.
Bradberry’s company coaches leaders using assessments that compare their own self-perception to how everyone else sees them. Smartphone use in meetings is one of the most common coworker complaints. Some companies take a page out of the Old West and put a basket by the conference room door with an image of a smartphone with the message “Leave your guns at the door.”