Put Down your Phone in Meetings

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Leadership tip of the week #102

Adapted from HBR

If you’ve ever wondered whether you have a colleague’s full attention while they’re staring at their phone, stop wondering.

You don’t.

But instead of getting frustrated that coworkers constantly check their devices during meetings, take action.

  1. You might start by sharing research that shows even the mere presence of a cell phone — much less its glowing screen and constant buzzing — is bad for productivity.
  2. Then talk with your team about the upsides and downsides of using devices during meetings.
  3. Propose ground rules like “Be totally present” and “Keep the phone in your pocket.”
  4. The team could also agree to use a simple phrase like “Tech-check” as a friendly way of reminding someone to put their phone away.
  5. Once a few rules are in place, stick to them — and point out when a colleague doesn’t.

You might get some annoyed looks at first, but over time the team will set a new norm.

Adapted from “How to Get Someone to Put Away Their Phone and Actually Listen,” by Joseph Grenny and Kelly Andrews

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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