Welcome to Insights and Implications!
Do you use your smartphone during meetings? Chances are you do more often than you realize, even if you disapprove of smartphone use during meetings. Read on for more about this interesting paradox.
And don’t forget to check out the Tedx talk by Insight Principles’ Ken Manning. Watch it here.
Smartphones and Meetings Don’t Mix
The USC Marshall School Of Business recently released a surprising study. Turns out that most people in the corporate world think smartphones don’t belong in business meetings. Here’s what the data showed:
- 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings
- 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during meetings
- 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails even during lunches offsite
- The more money people make, the less they approve of smartphone use.
And if you are over 40, the percentages increase.
Why did the study surprise me? I am often asked to sit in on business meetings. From my observation, smartphones (and laptops) are ubiquitous. If 86% of people disapprove of smartphone use during a meeting, why do so many people do it?
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My guess is that 86% of people approve of daily exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, but putting those ideals into practice is another story. Rallying around a good idea is easy. Changing behavior requires something else.
Changing behavior requires waking up.
If an overwhelming majority of people disapprove of smartphone use in meetings, yet smartphone use is prevalent, who is doing it?
It’s highly likely that you are.
This type of behavior is often unconscious. It’s possible to be so caught up in a personal bubble of your own thinking that you don’t notice your actions in the moment. You may not intend to be disrespectful by making the information on your phone more important than the information in the meeting. You likely don’t notice the effects of your behavior. You might simply be thinking something like:
“This topic does not have anything to do with me or my current project.”
OR “Joe, goes on and on. No one listens when he’s talking.”
These are common excuses for looking at your phone and not listening during a meeting. The listening standard is shockingly low. You may be okay with intermittent listening because you haven’t yet realized the inherent value of deep listening.The ability to listen deeply and reflectively is an incomparable asset, particularly when topics are complex, critical, or sensitive. Yet this kind of listening is not the ethic practiced at many business meetings. It is impossible to listen well when you’re paying attention to your smartphone during a meeting.
Some leaders mandate that employees turn off their phones during meetings. This works within the confines of the meeting, but it doesn’t really address the behavior. Insight Principles programs do not address behavior either. Instead, we point behind the scenes at what is happening within your mind. We want you to wake up to the inner mechanics of your mind, i.e., where behavior starts. When you wake up, you notice that there is a feeling to being distracted or bored or inattentive. There is also a feeling to being present and listening deeply.
As you become more awake, you recognize the thinking that is over-activating your mind. As this thinking subsides, you naturally become more present. You are more conscious of your own behavior. You notice others and their reactions. You listen without a lot of inner commentary. Your behavior during business meetings reaches a new standard.
You may still occasionally use your smartphone during a meeting, but your awareness will minimize any interruption. Your colleagues will appreciate your consideration, but most importantly, it just feels better to be present. And you might find yourself more creative to boot.