Look around next time you’re anywhere in public (or at the dinner table). It’s happening and most of us aren’t even aware we’re doing it. Someone’s having a face to face conversation with someone and an alert or other sound goes off from the cell phone. Like Pavlov’s dog, we’ve been conditioned to immediately take out the phone and check it. It seems innocent enough, but if you really think about it nothing says, “I think I’m more important than you are” like not giving the person you’re with your full attention. Even worse is when people check their phones WITHOUT an alert—wow, could you seem any more detached?
I’ll admit it–I’ve been guilty, but I’m actively working on keeping the phone in my pocket until the conversation is finished. I usually keep my phone on vibrate, but many times the person I’m talking with can still hear the buzzzzzzzz…I’ve had people ask me “aren’t you going to answer that?” My answer is simple—“not while I’m talking with you—that’s what voicemail is for.”
In any setting, ignoring that buzz, ring or ding makes the lasting impression that you know the true value of focusing full attention on the person you’re with. In a business setting with other things being equal, that could be a game changer.
However, it’s not just business. Are you guilty of it at home with your kids (or wife, or girlfriend) at the dinner table? If we ask for their undivided attention—we owe it to them to give them ours.
A gentleman will try his best to remember everyone deserves his full attention—it’s not an official tenet, but maybe it should be.