So what, I take my phone to meetings, big deal. It’s not because I’m a gen Yer, its not because I’m playing tetris or crushing candy. It’s not because I’m taking selfies or tweeting about how boring the meeting is. I keep my phone with me because it’s a valuable resource. I’m using my phone in a meeting to take notes, take pictures of slides for reference later, researching things relevant to what we are talking about etc. I’m using my cell phone powers for good.
My boss hates that I’m always walking around phone-in-hand. He cannot stand it, he will stop me and make sure I’m paying attention to what he’s saying. I don’t think he’s surprised anymore when he stops me to make sure I’m paying attention and I actually am paying attention. (I think that because one day his boss was in his office talking to us and made a comment about how I was clicking away pretty fast on my phone and he said, to my surprise, “yeah, but in a minute she will look up and repeat everything we just said and then tell us what she thinks”). It also annoys Bobbi. While we were chatting Wednesday night at Chick-fil-a (which by the way I do not love their food) I was googling, reading and tweeting throughout our conversation and it was driving her nuts.
I get it. It looks rude. It looks like you’re not paying attention, but that’s because of all those people out their using their cell phone powers for bubble popping, tetris and candy crushing. Maybe someone being on their cell phone is the exact opposite-maybe it means they ARE paying attention. The funny thing is I’m actually putting pencil to paper right now and not paying attention to what is going on around me. I’m not making a single note about the presentation or anyone’s comments, I am making notes for this post, making my to-do list and planning a few workouts. No one has even raised an eyebrow at me. It looks like I’m just taking notes… whatever.
I was sitting in a meeting a week ago at a local college with the new board of trustees and one of the guys in the meeting said he actually does not allow cell phones in his meetings. He doesn’t want to hear a phone vibrate or see someone texting. Oy vey. Today in technical writing we were talking about measuring the effectiveness of your presentation and someone joked that you can tell you aren’t doing a good job when the audience is on their blackberries (people are using blackberries still?).
If you don’t want people texting during a meeting then say so. If you don’t want #sleepingselfies showing up on instagram with a tagline about the meeting boring them to sleep, then say so. Don’t assume I’m not paying attention. I’m researching. I’m taking notes (and by the way I do take notes using twitter sometimes so yes I’m tweeting occasionally). If you start talking about something I am not familiar with, I’m going to give it a google so I can get up to speed. If you have a question about a resource we should be considering for something, I’ll look it up right then. If you schedule a follow-up meeting, I’m putting it on my calendar right then. I’m not texting. I can use my phone for more things than texting. It would be irresponsible of me to not utilize my mobile device to its fullest capabilities. Just think about it next time you want to throw an employee out of the room for being on their phone, if I’m not on my phone, I’m probably not paying attention. Don’t be so old school.