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Why You Should Stop Bringing Your Smartphone to Meetings


Everyone’s been in a meeting with that person. A colleague is presenting on a topic, and while it might be boring, most everyone else is doing their best to be respectful and pay attention. However, there may be one person who keeps checking their phone, heads down sending messages, emails, or maybe even playing a game. It’s annoying, it’s distracting — and it’s rude.

(Photo Credit: Johan Larsson/Flickr)

If this kind of behavior irritates you, you’re not alone. According to recent research from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, the majority of 500 people polled also said that employees using smartphones at during meetings were being rude. Eighty-six percent of those polled thought it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during formal meetings, and 84 percent think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during formal meetings. Additionally, 75 percent think it’s inappropriate to read texts or emails during formal meetings, and 66 percent think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during any meeting.

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However, out of all of those polled, only 22 percent think it’s inappropriate to use phones during any meetings. Typically, those in higher-level positions found any smartphone use to be rude; millennials were three times more likely than those over age 40 to think that checking text messages and emails during informal meetings was OK. For those new to their careers, this data is especially important to internalize, to ensure they don’t upset their bosses. Not only is checking your phone during a meeting rude, it can indicate several character flaws that could impact your job.

For example, using a phone during a meeting shows a lack of respect, a lack of attention, and proof that you’re not listening. By bringing your smartphone into the meeting, you’re also demonstrating what’s most important — and at that moment, it’s not your job.

If everyone else brings their smartphones to meetings, consider leaving yours at the desk and make a conscious effort to pay attention instead. Your boss will undoubtedly notice, and you’ll be more likely to be respected.

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