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Archive for February, 2014

Put That Away!

I must begin with a confession:
I love my iPhone.
I use it to check the weather, read my emails, listen to music. Is it my constant “companion?”
Not really. That title goes to my wife of almost 34 years, Nancy.
It is, however, within reach most of the time.
I live in an “on-time delivery” world. Clients and prospects expect to hear back from me.
People don’t like to wait.
I get it.
But it’s gotten a little out of hand.

It’s Become a Problem

In 2008 over 1,000 people in this country went to the emergency room as a result of being injured while walking and texting.
That was double the number in 2007; which was double the number in 2006.
A 2011 study found at least 23% of all U.S. car accidents that year involved cell phone use – that’s 1.3 million crashes.
So we have established that it can be dangerous.
So why do we do it?
It’s simple.
The thrill of hearing the “ping” when we get a text or new email gives the brain a little shot of the pleasure and reward chemical dopamine.
For that reason it’s hard to break the habit, and it’s why we feel the need to answer the phone and check our messages so often.
It’s addictive.
And among other places it’s now becoming a problem at work—which I want to address.

It Sends a Message

I’m in the business of helping people communicate and connect so they can work together more effectively.
In order for that to happen, people have to pay attention to each other.
They need to be focused and making eye contact when someone is speaking to them.
They need to make sure they fully understand what the speaker is saying.
That’s hard to do if a conversation is interrupted by someone responding to the latest noise their phone has made.
This has become a real problem in many organizations-especially during meetings.
While someone is speaking, it is not unusual to see others looking down at their messages or texting someone.
Some people even get up and walk out of the room to take calls.
The message this sends to the speaker is, “Anyone is more important to me right now than you are.”
It also sends the message that what we have to do is so important that we must address it right this minute.
It’s rude.

We Need to Get a Handle on This

First a disclaimer—If you are in the business of and/or on the verge of ending world hunger,
establishing world peace, curing cancer, or closing the hole in the ozone layer you are excused from what is about to be said.
If not, pay attention because what you’re doing is simply not that urgent.

When someone is talking to you, put your phone down.
If you are in a meeting, put your phone down.
If you are at a business lunch, put your phone down.

Better yet—put it away.
Better yet—turn it off.

If you are really serious about this, start by making it a policy that cell phones are not allowed in meetings.
If you are in a management position, begin today.
No cell phones in any meetings.
That means managers, too.

At first you will feel the pangs of withdrawal.
It may be hard at first.
But you can do it.
And you should because good business is good manners.
And it’s the right thing to do.

CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488