Thursday, October 16, 2008

Uncommon Courtesy

One of the things that really irritates me is being in a meeting, or at a lunch appointment, and the other person excuses himself or herself to answer their cell phone, or to return emails on their PDA - or worse, takes the phone call at the restaurant table.

What it tells me (even if it's not true) is that the phone call is more important than the time you are spending with me. It makes one feel somewhat insignificant.

Now, I am not getting onto the guy whose wife is 8.95 months pregnant, and he could get "the call" at any moment to head to the hospital (or home to get his wife!). I'm talking about pretty much any other scenario, however.

You may say, "But, I HAVE to answer my phone or return my emails - at any given moment! My job - or my life - depends on it!"

I say, "Wake up! Reality check!" Even though you may THINK you are that important, you're not! Or, if you think every phone call you receive it the MOST's NOT!

And, here's some inside info: that person who is waiting for you to come and sit back down at the table - the one you want to impress with how "needed" you are - is actually put off by your actions.

Now, before you get all huffy, I am not saying that you should never answer your phone during your meeting. I'm saying you shouldn't even bring your phone to the meeting. Leave it in your car, or in your office. That way you're not tempted to answer it when it rings (or dings - with a text or email).

You may say, "the horrors!" You think there's no way you can pull that one off. But, maybe you need to try.

I made a personal rule a couple years ago that I would not bring my phone with me to a lunch appointment or a meeting. If I am just going out with friends or co-workers that I see every day, I allow myself to bring it on occasion. Or, if I ride to lunch in someone else's car, and I don't feel comfortable leaving it in their vehicle, I may take it inside. But, I still rarely answer it if it rings.

For the love of Pete, I implore the "Crackberry" and cell phone addicts to please...step away from the phone! Be present - fully present - with those with whom you are spending your precious time.

It's an uncommon courtesy, and a choice you will rarely - if ever - regret making.

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