A Human Approach

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Buzz, Flash, Ring!

Aha! Moment Monday

Anyone over 50 will remember going out for dinner with friends, and that the first thing everyone did when they sat down was put their pack of smokes on the table.

It would appear that the PJ’s and Camels have been replaced with personal communication devices. Now etiquette suggests that putting anything on the table – hand bag, sunglasses, even your phone – is taboo yet we feel the need to unload our pockets and take ownership of our spot.

(Perhaps a new discussion will emerge about where it fits into the place setting – to the left above the bread plate or to the right with the water glass. I’m thinking the former is safer if, like me, you talk with your hands.)

Now, if we’ve chosen to have lunch or dinner with special individuals, what does it hint about our interest level in the conversation if at the slightest beep, light or vibration we’re distracted? Might it cause the others at the table to ask themselves (or out loud), “Am I not interesting enough?”

The driving force that overrides the risk of offending our guests: FOMO. Fear of missing out. “Want to drive someone crazy? Hide their phone!” says Craig Dowden, Ph.D. and author of “Do Good to Lead Well.”

FOMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” This desire to stay continually connected with others has created such a social anxiety that we check our phones, on average, every two minutes.

Now, the reason you would book that lunch, dinner or meeting might include catch up with friends, because it was date night, to mastermind or perhaps advance a project, right? So what’s so bad about having the phone on the table??

Aha! ~ Self-sabotage

Proof: “Research has uncovered that conversation quality is far better when cell phones are tucked away; in fact, in studies where a phone is simply placed on the table between parties, the distraction of even an unclaimed device significantly diminishes the quality of connection as well as the level of trust.” says Dr. Dowden.

You see while it’s become socially acceptable to plop your phone down on the table and yes, Miss Etiquette would roll her eyes if you used it, it’s not just about what others might think. It may quite possibly be stealing from your time to learn, celebrate, support, share, empathize, promote and so much more in exchange for mentally being someplace else.

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Be all in. Your time is worth it.


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