Personal Branding Weekly – Stop Ranting, Mobile Phones and Meetings

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I know. I know. It’s rude to talk on your phone in a meeting or a workshop.
That’s just common sense and we all know how uncommon that is. But how much must the ranting go on?

Ever thought that there’s a different way to look at it?

This week a well-known networking guru who’s created one of the largest international referral networks in the world ranted about how unprofessional you are when you take out and use your phone during a meeting. He referenced, in his post, checking your phone screen and texting. The photo he showed with his rant is of someone in a meeting who looked like she was texting on her phone.

The comments under his article are filled with rants of people working on their computer or on their phone and never even looking up to see or “pay attention” to people in the meeting.

Reading the Letters to the Editor of The Rotarian Magazine, a Rotarian’s letter also ranted about how rude it was for people to take their phone out in meeting and to continue to text while the speaker was talking.

So, as you can see in these instances from this past week, the focus in not “talking on the phone”.

Let me share a different perspective. I’m sitting at New Media Expo getting ready to listen to the amazing Chris Brogan and Lewis Howe.  Chris is about to take us through a visioning exercise to start the event and he tells everyone to put their phone down for the next two minutes. The gal next to me responds with, “How will I take notes?” Chris assured us that there would be no need to take notes for the next two minutes but there’ll be time for massive note taking after that.

You see. Phones, these days, are notepads. [tweet this]

It’s where we store our thoughts. We might text someone reaching out to them instantly for ideas, to contribute to the conversation, to ask a question or for clarity. Why do we reach out to them instantly? We do it because we can.

If you’re in a meeting and someone picks up their notepad/padfolio/sheets of paper to take notes and pulls out their pen, would you stop them? Would you tell them they’re rude? Would you go on (and on) that they were not valuing the people around or meeting with?

If you’re in a meeting and just asked the attendees who’s available to help out at an important event on Saturday, would you stop the person who was texting their spouse to see if there’s any plans so they can respond to you before you leave the meeting?

I agree there are some inappropriate and even extremely inappropriate moments to look at or use your phone. Yet, I have learned that you cannot “assume” what someone’s doing on the phone. And, with our tech resources it’s ignorant to think that someone with their laptop open in a meeting is not paying attention. I know when I have my laptop open, it’s recording the audio of the meeting and I am taking notes along the way.

What does this mean to your personal brand?

Are you getting feedback that you’re a bit angry; quick to jump to conclusions; not with the times; a little too old fashioned; a bit confining in your beliefs? Then, take this article into consideration. I’m not saying that this is all that’s contributing to that perception of who you are but it could be a contributing factor that you’ve never considered.

Some stellar posts this week – take a look at what you missed:

Thanks to Jenna for these great tweetables from this past week!