Spill the Truth: Are smartphones making us stupid?

Spill the Truth: Are smartphones making us stupid?

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There is no doubt that technology has done wonders for the field of communications. It has brought us increased messaging speed and an insatiable appetite for content. Nevertheless, it hasn’t reinvented the wheel. At the core, we still depend on two basic ways to communicate: speaking and writing.

Of course, it’s easy to blame technology for communication-related troubles. But the problem with smartphones isn’t technology—it’s the user.

The fact is you may be guilty of some common smartphone missteps if you:

  • Use your device as a crutch at networking events—i.e., pretending to be in demand rather than socializing.
  • Scroll through your emails when you should be making eye contact during a meeting.
  • Stay constantly connected—replying to emails, texts and social media 24/7.

Because a good leader knows that business diplomacy is still what truly creates business success, here are a few friendly reminders:

  • Smartphone addicts look unapproachable. Sure it’s hard to be the lone duck at a networking event, but eyeballing your phone won’t win you any perception points. 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.
  • Eye contact is the bomb diggity of body language. Studies show that when you use eye contact you’re perceived as more powerful, personable, likeable and qualified. Resist every urge to shift your eyes to that shiny object clutched in your hand. Stay engaged, be a good listener and see how easy it is to control a conversation.
  • If it can wait, then it should wait. Every email or text you get is not a business crisis. So, whenever possible, use your smartphone for what it was originally intended to do: making calls. Besides, a smiley or winkey face will never boost approval ratings the way tone of voice and inflection can.

Before you act . . .
Conduct an objective audit of your smartphone habits. Better yet, turn your device off once in awhile—especially when driving. Take a cue from a good friend of mine who’s not a phone junky. When he’s behind the wheel, here’s the auto-reply texters receive: “I’m driving right now –I’ll get back to you shortly.“

Are you guilty of smartphone abuse? Tell me about it. Comment below.

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