Cell Phone Dos And Dont During A Meeting
What would we do without our cell phones? Wow, there's a scary question. It's hard to imagine a world without them. But cell phones, connected as they may keep us, seem to have an amazing power to disturb and trump face to face interaction. For example, why is it that during a meal or a meeting, people insist on taking every call? Even worse, just let the phone ring? They forget all about the person across the table as if they were invisible!
This violates the golden rule of interpersonal communication, which is to make the other person feel like the most important person in the world.
The following is a list of cell phone do's and don'ts that will help you avoid embarrassing yourself while still honoring the person across the table. (This information is NOT found in the 147 page Sprint PCS handbook.) Whether you're at lunch or in a one-on-one meeting, use these etiquette tips to combat even the most enticing barriers that stand in your way of being an effective communicator.
DO?Be Subtle Yet Accessible
Pockets and belt clips are the most efficient places to keep your phone because you are able to answer the ringer right away. Also you can silence the ringer right away. Remember, the last thing your friend or colleague wants to hear during the meeting is an annoying MIDI version of Beethoven's 9th piercing his ears.
DO NOT?Lay Your Phone on the Table
But imagine this: you sit down to eat only to watch the person across the table reach into her pocket, grab her cell phone, and smack it right down next to the salt shaker. Ouch.
Does that mean she has an emergency call coming in? Probably not. It sounds more like, as Jerry Seinfeld says, "I have 62 other people on speed dial that I could call if I wanted to; so you better be interesting." That is not the way to make someone feel important.
DO NOT?Wear Phone Accessories During the Meeting
Nonverbal communication speaks before you do. It accounts for 93% of your communication. So, along with eye contact, smiling and open body language - involvement shields like cell phone headsets can nonverbally send the wrong message, for example: "Please anticipate our meeting being interrupted by somebody more important than you."
DO NOT?Let Your Phone Ring Twelve Times
DO?Turn It Off
DO NOT?Insult the Absent
DO?Wait for the Right Time
Some sneaky people - my last date for example - pretend to use the bathroom for the sole purpose of making a phone call. This is an effective technique, but be careful. If you've had a few glasses of water, ten minutes later when you really do have to go, you'll turn into "The Boy Who Cried Hello."
DO NOT?Debate the Caller ID
The Bottom Line
Remember: don't incur the opportunity cost of cell phone convenience at the expense of someone sitting right across the table. You're sitting down with him. Talk to HIM!
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at hellomynameisscott.com.
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