Cellphone Etiquette

Have you ever noticed that when someone starts to speak at a meeting they put down their cellphone (or tablet or close the lid on their computer)? And then, when they’ve finished speaking and it’s your turn they pick their cellphone or tablet back up or reopen their computer?

That’s what happened to me at a small group meeting last night. As I was beginning to speak I was astonished to see the person who had spoken before me get engaged by something on his cellphone.  I felt really disrespected

As much as I hate to consider myself the heavy in these situations, I as nicely as possible asked the gentleman to please put away his cellphone. I have a story that he wasn’t too happy with me but he did grudgingly comply.

And sure enough a latecomer to the meeting played with his electronic device in the last half of the meeting. I wasn’t the chair of the meeting so I just caved on this second cellphone incident.

Cellphones are tools just like hammers and saws are tools. You wouldn’t keep hammering or sawing if somebody was speaking to you so why isn’t some folks think it’s okay to keep playing with their phone?

At Toastmasters we soon discover that speaking is only half of the communications track. The other half is listening and you can’t listen and play with your phone if you want to give the speaker your full respectful attention.

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One response to “Cellphone Etiquette

  1. Éléonore Reinery

    I fully get your point and agree that there should be a cellphone etiquette. — I am, however, in total dismay about the fact that someone pulled up their cellphone when I was at a funeral service yesterday. 😦 (No, this person is not rendering any medical services… ) Perhaps TMs could come up with a policy? Common sense and general courtesy do not seem to reign the day.