Do Not Bring Your Smartphones Into Meetings

Tightrope walkingAre you one of those people who brings your cell phone into a meeting and pulls it out every time it vibrates? According to a recent study from the USC Marshall School of Business, you are probably annoying your boss and colleagues. The paper indicates that older professionals and those with higher incomes are far more likely to think it inappropriate to be checking text messages or emails during meetings.

          The study reveals that:

        • 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during formal meetings
        • 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during formal meetings
        • 75% think it’s inappropriate to read texts or emails during formal meetings
        • 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during any meetings
        • At least 22% think it’s inappropriate to use phones during any meetings
*These are working professionals from companies of 50 employees or more who earn at least $30k a year.

In a small business, this can be like walking a tightrope. Some companies and coworkers expect instant responses to emails and text messages, but others clearly view these as distractions and do not want them to be part of meetings. I suggest understanding the expectations of your boss as well as the person leading the meeting. When in doubt, ignore the phone and pay attention.


  1. An important exception is when the meeting discussion is about scheduling. Most of us use our phones to access our calendars. Also, it is often OK to bring a laptop to a meeting because it is perceived that “work” is being don on a laptop but not on a phone. Best to keep your phone silent and in your pocket and don’t look at it unless there’s a business reason. But not bringing it to the meeting at all is an over-reaction.

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