My last few professional years are full of meetings. I mean the days basically consist of meetings – scheduled, spontaneous, private and public. Throughout the process I have been noticing stuff and now I am ready to share some common errors. I am going to give you my opinion on every destructive habit in the following course of articles. I will try to avoid vacuity you can find in any cheap non-fiction. The first article is about the most destructive habit – paying too much attention to your phone during a meeting.
Here we will talk about the effect you may cause by getting distracted by the gadgets during the meetings.
It’s been said enough about the importance of eye contact, you can’t underestimate it. All in all, eye contact makes the first impression (that’s why I would recommend to always switch on a camera during video interviews). Imagine a formal or informal meeting. People are discussing something important. Then one of the people gets a notification and dives into it. Imagine it’s you who dives into this notification.
Outcome 1. An interlocutor is suspicious.
Eye contact is a cornerstone of trust (much more important than verbal communication). No only popular psychology is full of research on that, it’s the common knowledge that eye contact is hard for liars and unreliable individuals. If one of your fellow interlocutors is a devoted follower of such common knowledge – you’ve got into a pickle! People who want to do stuff together are more eager to overcome issues with the ones who they can rely on.
Thoughtless people are normally bad at dealing with personal problems, so the working issues are almost insoluble for them. Liars are much more easier to attend to – you just don’t waste time on them.
Think if you are ready to be though of this way (even if falsely) just because you’ve glanced into your smartphone. I doubt it.
Outcome 2. Interlocutor is offended.
One of the best things in the world is that we are all created different – with our own character, views, peculiarities and tempers. You all know the examples of people who didn’t hold themselves when it came to criticism. Surely all of you know a few persons who react aggressively to the faux pas of the people they are talking to. If there is such person in a group you’re talking to, bingo! You’ve got a rival.
You’re gonna get a lot of criticism towards yourself. There is no point to think whether you’ve got enough nerve to and witness to defend yourself (and not derail a meeting). You are not going to be ready for that at all. Your attention is fully towards your phone, so it kind of plays against you. It’s not a subject of this article how much tough negotiations harden you (but surely the experience is useful).
Think if you are ready to tackle this situation in front of everyone just because you couldn’t ignore a notification. I believe you’re not.
Outcome 3. Interlocutor feels your weakness.
There is no guarantee you will never meet a radical view in terms of perception. I must say that if you have a choice, you’d better avoid such people. However, normally you don’t have such choice. This person will not perceive you as a liar or get offended by your actions. He/she will think of you as a coward. Then he/she will probably generate a rumor or two, as it’s what they do.
They are dragged into light at the end, but their multiple deceitful recitals will make falsely image look true for some people.
I am not going to ask you be super precocious as these people are part of any big team. Just avoid giving them a reason to judge you. They are kind of afraid of mysterious people.
Outcome 4. You’ve lost the point.
This outcome is expected. One may think it’s not a big deal. You’ve got destructed by a chat or checking your bank account, lost the point. My congratulations, you’re gambling with your, your partners and the whole mission success. Some teams are used to sending notes to the participants after every meeting. It’s not going to rescue you since the controversial points normally are not mentioned there. However, you’ve already agreed with them by not objecting and being succumbed to your gadget.
To conclude my point I am going to say that I fully realize how hard it can be to survive some meetings without gadgets. Especially when they captivate everyone around. However, I would strongly suggest being fully present at the meeting, not just occupy space in a meeting room.
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