1. tomregan's Avatar
    thought you all might get a kick out of this. i know i definitely am guilty of this! [from the San Diego Union Tribune]

    Minding your smart-phone manners
    Some blast nonstop use of devices in meetings

    By Alex Williams

    2:00 a.m. June 22, 2009

    For the first half-hour of the meeting, it was hardly surprising to see a potential client fiddling with his iPhone, said Rowland Hobbs, the chief executive of a marketing firm in Manhattan.

    At an hour, it seemed a bit much. And after an hour and a half, Hobbs and his colleagues wondered what the man could possibly be doing with his phone for the length of a summer blockbuster.

    Someone peeked over his shoulder.

    “He was playing a racing game,” Hobbs said. “He did ask questions, though, peering occasionally over his iPhone.”

    But, Hobbs added, “we didn't say anything. We still wanted the business.”

    As Web-enabled smart phones have become standard on the belts and in the totes of executives, people in meetings are increasingly caving in to temptation to check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, even (shhh!) ESPN.com.

    A spirited debate about etiquette has broken out. Traditionalists decry the use of BlackBerrys and iPhones in meetings while techno-evangelists insist that to ignore text messages in a need-it-yesterday world is to invite peril.

    One-third of more than 5,300 workers polled in May by Yahoo HotJobs, a career research and job listings Web site, said they frequently checked e-mail in meetings. Nearly 20 percent said they had been castigated for poor manners regarding wireless devices.

    Despite resistance, the etiquette debate seems to be tilting in the favor of smart-phone use, many executives said. Managing directors do it. Summer associates do it. It spans gender and generation, private and public sectors.

    A few years ago, only “the investment banker types” would use BlackBerrys in meetings, said Frank Kneller, the chief executive of a company in Elk Grove Village, Ill., that makes water treatment systems. “Now it's everybody.”

    Kneller said that if he spotted six of 10 colleagues tapping away, he knew he had to speed up his presentation.

    It is routine for Washington officials to bow heads silently around a conference table – not praying – while others are speaking, said Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although BlackBerrys are banned in certain areas of the State Department headquarters for security reasons, their use is epidemic where they are allowed.

    “You'll have half the participants BlackBerrying each other as a submeeting, with a running commentary on the primary meeting,” Reines said. “BlackBerrys have become like cartoon thought bubbles.”

    Some professionals admitted that they occasionally sent mocking commentary about the proceedings, but most insisted that they used smart phones for legitimate reasons such as responding to deadline requests, plumbing the Web for data to illuminate an issue under discussion or simply taking notes.

    Few companies have formal policies about smart-phone use in meetings, said Nancy Flynn, the executive director of the ePolicy Institute, a consulting group in Columbus, Ohio. Flynn tells clients to encourage employees to turn off all devices.

    “People mistakenly think that tapping is not as distracting as talking,” Flynn said. “In fact, it can be every bit as much if not more distracting. And it's pretty insulting to the speaker.”

    Still, business can be won or lost, executives say, depending on how responsive you are to an e-mail message.

    “Clients assume they can get you anytime, anywhere,” said David Brotherton, a media consultant in Seattle. “Consultants who aren't readily available 24/7 tend to languish.”

    Playful electronic bantering can stimulate creativity in meetings in the view of Josh Rabinowitz, the director of music at Grey Group in New York, an advertising agency. In pitch meetings, Rabinowitz said, he often traded messages on his Palm Treo – jokes, ideas, questions – with colleagues, “things that you might not say out loud.”

    The chatter tends to loosen the proceedings.

    “It just seems to add to the productive energy,” he said.

    But business relationships can be jeopardized. Lori Levine, the founder of Flying Television, a talent-booking agency in Manhattan, said that in an effort to be environmentally sensitive, she instructed employees to take notes on BlackBerrys instead of paper during client meetings.

    “Then I got a call from a client screaming that our vice president spent an hour on his BlackBerry during a huge meeting,” Levine said.

    To soothe the client, Levine read aloud the notes the vice president had taken.

    In Dallas, a college student sunk his chance to have an internship at a hedge fund last summer when he pulled out a BlackBerry to look up a fact to help him make a point during his interview, then lingered – momentarily, but perceptibly – to check a text message a friend had sent, said Trevor Hanger, the head of equity trading at the hedge fund, who was helping conduct the interview.

    Beyond practical considerations, there is also the issue of image. In many professional circles, where connections are power, making a show of reaching out to those connections even as co-workers are presenting a spreadsheet presentation seems to have become a kind of workplace boast.

    Brotherton, the consultant, wrote in an e-mail message that it was customary now for professionals to lay BlackBerrys or iPhones on a conference table before a meeting – like gunfighters placing their Colt revolvers on the card tables in a saloon.

    “It's a not-so-subtle way of signaling, 'I'm connected. I'm busy. I'm important. And if this meeting doesn't hold my interest, I've got 10 other things I can do instead,' ” Brotherton said.

    In the Union-Tribune on Page A1
    06-22-09 07:24 PM
  2. Username00089's Avatar
    This is all I gotta say:

    06-22-09 07:27 PM
  3. amazinglygraceless's Avatar
    Having to explain to people the simple concept of decorum is just
    the dumbest thing ever.

    Grow up people. It's a phone. Get over it and focus on oh, I don't
    know, the damn people you're with.
    06-22-09 07:35 PM
  4. phatboy5015's Avatar
    Yeah, a BlackBerry is a way to connect with PEOPLE when they are not around.. So when they're around, there's no need for a BlackBerry..

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    06-22-09 08:41 PM
  5. tomregan's Avatar
    oh all you whiners, how about when you're around people you dont want to be? nothings better than a blackberry when youre in a meeting
    06-23-09 09:20 PM
  6. BobandBob's Avatar
    oh all you whiners, how about when you're around people you dont want to be? nothings better than a blackberry when youre in a meeting
    When you're in a meeting shouldn't you, idk pay attention to whats going on in the meeting? Be a crackberryhead all you want, but if you were my employee, and you were using your phone in a meeting, you'd be using your phone to look for work.
    06-24-09 02:41 AM
  7. whostoblame's Avatar
    Thats all the iPhone is a multimedia phone and not a true smartphone.
    06-24-09 03:15 AM
  8. bumblesbounce's Avatar
    There's a whole generation of kids growing up who sit next to each other and never talk...they'll text away with someone in the same room; I'm afraid that the way my generation was taught to behave while someone else is speaking (sit down, shut up and pay attention) is losing ground.
    Last edited by bumblesbounce; 06-24-09 at 04:49 AM.
    06-24-09 04:46 AM
  9. anon(2185188)'s Avatar
    Some meetings are unbearable, especially when you don't need to be there, BUT, using a mobile phone during any meeting is just rude and obnoxious. If people working for me did this, their asses would be out the door faster than a new email being pushed to a BlackBerry.
    06-24-09 06:58 AM
  10. Xopher's Avatar
    Time to put faraday cages around conference rooms.
    06-24-09 07:49 AM
  11. Sammael#WN's Avatar
    It's all a matter of perception and use. I'll never use my Berry to waste time during a meeting, but part of my current duty station is to fill the role of an executive assistant. In order to do that, most the meetings I'm in I use the Berry to take notes and have them sent off before any of the participants are back in their office. At first my boss caught some flak for my use, until folks started seeing just what I could get done with it. Now, if my bold isn't in my hand durning a meeting people assume that something is wrong.
    06-24-09 09:40 AM
  12. sandmanfvr's Avatar
    I have to agree on this. I had my new BB 4 days, had them before and I don't "sit on them" all the time. Plus if I am in a meeting, the f'ing BB is second. Even those at work that have them for work, ignore the emails etc while talking to others. MANNERS people. Geez. I have personal one, but I am an IT System Admin (have paid work cell no BB) and I look at mine and chat with friends, but here and there, my manager is ok with it as I do my work, but if we are doing stuff, I am talking to others, I let it vibrate. To that guy playing on his iphone in the article, I wouldn't have let it go 5 minutes till I said "Sir, either you pay attention to this meeting or we are done here.", to **** with wanting his business.
    06-24-09 10:14 AM
  13. tomregan's Avatar
    I'm not even talking about "sitting on it" during a meeting. I'm just talking about when you're around completely uninteresting people... It was a joke, come on.

    When in a meeting, I've only used it to look things up to add to the meeting. It's a great to have information right at your fingertips, and all of my bosses have appreciated it when I can immediately look something up right then and there, instead of having to run over to a computer. I'm all for being polite in meetings, trust me. There's nothing more maddening then to have a rude employee in your meeting, looking at their phone the entire time (usually sitting on some asinine site, such as twitter, FMyLife, etc.).

    P.S. Anyone hiring in human resources, office administration, anything along those lines in San Diego? Recent college graduate, going absolutely insane not working anymore! (No longer able to work at the university since I'm not a student).
    Last edited by tomregan; 06-24-09 at 09:38 PM. Reason: addition/grammatical
    06-24-09 09:30 PM
  14. BBICON's Avatar
    I have used my BlackBerry during meetings to look at emails or see who is calling but I'm not alone my boss has a BlackBerry as well and he does same (and 9/10 he is hosting the meeting)

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    06-24-09 09:37 PM