When is it ok to have your phone out in a meeting?

In yesterday’s post we looked at how to make people feel important in our personal lives. Today we’ll examine how we make people feel important in the workplace.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who had read my blog, asked me to write a post about when is it acceptable to have your phone out in a business meeting. Yes, I take requests.

My initial response to the question was, “Unless it’s prefaced with ‘Sorry, I am waiting on a call from my doctor, kid’s school, mechanic, etc.’ the answer is never.”

Having your phone out just isn’t necessary. Don’t kid yourself that you’re multitasking. Multitasking is a myth. More on that coming in a later post. The brain isn’t capable of concentrating on two things at the same time. Thats why you should limit the words you put on your PowerPoint slides so people pay attention to your words. That’s also why people have to repeat questions they ask you so often when you’re looking at your phone in a meeting.

Studies show even having your phone out upside down on the table reduces the comfort level in the room. Like yawning, one person checking their phone becomes contagious and soon everyone is pulling out their phone. It’s generally the highest paid person in the room that takes out their phone first. Because they’re the most busy, of course.

Ultimately would you rather work for a boss who makes you feel important by listening to you and being present, or one who ignores what you have to say and checks email on their phone? Or even worse checking their social media. It seems like almost weekly I am in a meeting and music or talking bursts from someones unmuted phone because a video starts to play. Is it really worth alienating people to catch up on emails or social media? Give up on getting to inbox zero and start contributing to the conversation. After all, people don’t quit companies, they quit because of how their boss makes them feel.

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