Checking your emails, sending a quick text or – worst of all – taking a phone call during a formal meeting or even a business lunch can seriously raise the hackles of colleagues and clients.
According to a study by the USC Marshall School of Business, 86% of people feel that answering the phone during a meeting is unacceptable, with nearly as many (84%) feeling the same way about texts and emails.
Regardless of your personal attitude to smartphone check-ins, here are three very good reasons why banning there use in your company meetings is a great idea.
1. Because the people you need to get onside are the ones that hate it the most.
Interestingly, a study by the USC Marshall School of Business found that older professionals and higher earners were the most likely to be irritated by smartphone-distracted colleagues. And, by older professionals and higher earners, read: senior decision makers. These are not the people that you want to wind up.
2. Because it can have serious negative effects on your workplace dynamic.
Feeling like a colleague has been deliberately rude to you or is ignoring your input can have lasting damage on workplace relationships, even if the slighting is unintended. Tensions between smartphone-hating individuals and more phone-tolerant younger workers was found by the Marshall study to have a negative effect on everything from hiring and career progression to efficiency in the workplace.
3. Because politeness is an easy win.
In an ever-more competitive world, getting ahead in your field, retaining staff and attracting customers is about so much more than absolutes like pay, products or technology. Civility and engagement are intangible things that can be hard to define or value, but once lost are extremely hard to get back. The moment a business client or a colleague believes your mind has wandered from the issue at hand is the moment that they become resentful or distrustful. Why waste months, even years, of relationship building to find out who just tagged you on Facebook?