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Cell Phones: The New Form of Rude?

Technology is constantly growing and changing. People nowadays are expecting instant gratification and reply to their desires and questions. When smart phones first came onto the scene, we all knew; this was the answer we were looking for: a way to get more done, in less time.

Every meeting, networking event, or lecture I give; these phones are present. But, as a society are we now too dependent on our blackberry’s? Although they assist us in becoming incredibly efficient, they are also becoming the new “faux pas” with etiquette and credibility in our business and personal lives. Do you know when you’re snubbing someone?

At a lunch and learn I was giving recently, I was embarrassed to see that almost everyone in the room sat down at the table and immediately place their phones beside them. This is also common in dining situations, both for personal and business purposes. Most people have their phones on the table. Now, let’s think about this: What does that say to the person you’re with? What does that say to the presenter your listening too? If you have your phone on the table, you are now letting everyone in the room know that they are a second priority to you. Why? Because, the second your phone rings, flashes, beeps, or vibrates your attention will be diverted to it. The people surrounding you will no longer have your full and undivided attention. Sound like a great way to do business or grow relationships?

Almost every client I deal with, I have to sit down and speak with them about cell phone etiquette. Talking or typing on your phone has become so common while simultaneously conversing with someone in front of you that, most don’t even think that they are being rude!

A recent CEO I was working with said to me that he’ll dismiss anyone that pulls out their phone while speaking with him; including business deals!

So how do we get around this common faux pas and save our credibility?

If you are in a personal or business situation, first off, keep you phone out of sight. I recommend having it on vibrate. If you are expecting a really important call, let those surrounding you know this. This way, when the call comes through, you won’t be perceived as rude. Make sure that you also excuse yourself when on a phone call. There is nothing worse than someone trying to “hush” the people around them because they are on a call.

Although technology is fantastic remember: face-to-face interactions come first. Everything else is second.