Smartphones or Rude Phones

Did the rules of phone etiquette change when smartphones were invented?

Is it now appropriate to use your smartphone during a face-to-face meeting or when listening to a lecture at a conference?

My mother always taught me not to interrupt a conversation, be polite and watch your ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s. By showing manners towards someone, you make them feel valuable.

Therefore, I find it annoying when I’m in a meeting with someone who pulls out their phone and reads a text while they are simultaneously talking to me. If you’re in a one-on-one meeting and the other person grabs his/her iPhone to check their e-mail, that’s just rude.

That said, I understand how smartphones can have a very appropriate place in a workplace setting, especially if using it serves to facilitate or enhance the speed of business.

Smartphone  Rude Phone
Using your smartphone to validate a point in a business meeting Texting while someone is presenting to you
Using your smartphone as a presentation tool (i.e. to show 3D product demonstration and/or project content) Checking emails while prospects are walking by your trade show booth
Staying connected to what’s going on in the office, with the ability to access materials anywhere, anytime Answering non-emergency calls when in a meeting or a work event

Professor and researcher Christine Pearson has studied the effects of technology on how we treat each other at work — and written about it in a recent book and New York Times column — and the topic is catching on big time. City officials in Danvers, MA, and Provo, UT, have proposed texting bans during council meetings, and the general consensus seems to be that, although most people do it, texting (and checking email and Facebook) during meetings is just plain rude.

What are your thoughts? Is texting during meetings a sign of increasing “incivility” in the workplace, as Pearson says? Or are some industries just too fast-paced and tech-oriented to keep messaging out of meetings?

About kaonmarketingguru

Dana Drissel is a well-rounded, highly energetic, results driven professional with 15+ years of advertising agency and corporate marketing experience at both large public companies and small business start-ups.
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1 Response to Smartphones or Rude Phones

  1. Jessica@plz&thx says:

    Thanks for this post! I fully agree that if you are engaging with a person directly, it is downright rude to use your phone. The problem is that everyone is doing it and there are no clear rules. It’s a Catch-22: We hate it when someone does it to us, but we know we’ve been guilty of it too, so we don’t feel we’re in a position to say anything and let it go. In both business and personal encounters! I don’t think any industry is too fast-paced or tech-oriented to excuse this behavior. Companies should implement gadget rules for meetings and presentations to level the playing field. (I know of companies that fine their employees $100 if they are caught using their phone in a meeting!) As for our social lives, that’s another story. 🙂

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