April 26, 2017
At a recent sales convention, the CEO of the company walked up to the microphone and stepped into the spotlight to make a speech. The house lights were lowered for dramatic effect. The room became dark, except for an eerie blue glow that could be seen emanating from seats throughout the ballroom. It was the glow of cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
There is nothing more insulting to a meeting facilitator or the other people in attendance, than a co-worker who is pulling out electronic gadgets to check or send messages. Put your toys away. It is not only rude, it sends a clear signal to your boss and co-workers that your mind isn’t 100 percent on your job. Your calls can wait until your meeting is over or until there is a break. Remember, there was a time before we had cell phones. Setting guidelines is an excellent way to eliminate the use of gadgets and other disruptive behavior during meetings.
Turn off your cell phone, tablet, and laptop before you enter the meeting. Even if your gadgets are turned off, do not leave them hanging on your ear or laying on the table in front of you. Your laptop should be closed. When you are invited to attend a meeting, your focus needs to be on the discussion taking place in that meeting, not on your toys.
If you must have access to your electronic gadget, you need to explain the reason to the group and request their permission to leave it turned on. For example, others may need a quick way to reach you if you are dealing with a family emergency or there is a potential crisis brewing within the company. If it is on, make sure that is set to the vibrate mode. If a call comes in, quietly excuse yourself from the room before you answer.
Unless you have received permission from the group, turn off all electronic equipment. Better yet, don’t even bring it. Glancing at your phone, sending a text message or checking your email during the meeting will communicate that you are uninterested, bored or distracted. But the loudest message you will communicate is, “I am immature and unprofessional.”