Smartphones have certainly accelerated the speed of business. But they haven’t reinvented the wheel. There are still two basic ways to communicate: speaking and writing.
Sure, smartphones let you communicate easily, regardless of location. But that doesn’t mean they are good for business. In fact, for many professionals, their smartphone may be hurting their career.
Don’t blame the technology. The problem is with the user’s addiction to their device.
Four signs that your smartphone addiction may be hurting your career
1. You use your device at networking events.
The Message Maven says: Yes, it’s hard to be the lone duck at a networking event, but eyeballing your phone won’t win you any perception points. Smartphone addicts look unapproachable. Put the phone away and walk about the room purposefully. Simply smile at the first person you see, extend your hand and say hello. That’s how relationships start. Stash your phone in your pocket or purse before walking into the event. If you think you may be tempted, keep it in your car.
2. You use your phone before or during meetings.
The Message Maven says: Resist the urge to scroll through your social feed waiting for the meeting to begin, or glance at your email if your mind starts to wander during a meeting. Pre-meeting chatter and focused listening help you build the important office relationships you need to succeed. Connect with the humans around you instead of that shiny object in your hand. And use eye contact during your conversations. You’ll be perceived as more powerful, personable, likeable and qualified.
3. You keep your phone out during conversations.
The Message Maven says: Even if you don’t use it, a phone sitting on the table or gripped in your hand indicates that the people you’re with are not your number-one priority. That’s probably not the perception you want to give your new client or valued colleagues. In this age of technology, it’s more important than ever to give every human interaction your full, undivided attention. A smiley emoji will never boost approval ratings the way a kind word or smile can.
4. You immediately check every notification.
The Message Maven says: Staying constantly connected — replying to emails, texts and social media 24/7 – can zap productivity. Pick several times a day to check your messages, and stick with it. You’ll be more focused on your tasks, which can boost your efficiency and creativity.
Note to managers: Consider having a smartphone policy in writing. For safety sake, forbid conference calls and texting while driving. Include expectations regarding responding to messages outside of business hours. And set a good example in the office. Give team members your undivided attention whenever possible and encourage relationship-building face-to-face conversations. A Baylor University Hankamer School of Business study found that managers who can’t put down their smartphones while meeting with employees (a.k.a phubbing) risk losing their employees’ trust and engagement.