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Meeting room phone-fiddlers caught every 7 minutes

Research suggests that in an average 45 minute business meeting, attendees will turn to their phone 6 (SIX!) times. Are you a smartphone addict or can you set the mini-tablet to one side?

Recent research by Android app Locket, found that the average time a user checks their phone is nine times an hour. An average business meeting takes 45 minutes, which means attendants are potentially turning to their phones at least 6 times in the space of that assembly. However, is it really ok to check your phone whilst in a meeting?

Although multi-tasking can be seen as a desirable skill in most job descriptions, it isn’t seen quite as that when workers start using mobile devices during a business meeting.

The problem

It is still a common perception that when someone is on a mobile phone their attention is divided. Imagine, running an important meeting and seeing your colleagues hunched over their phones; to some this might suggest that they have more important things to do. In truth, the level of engagement from people in a meeting can set the tone and productivity of it so can anything be done to keep people ‘in the room’?

Forbes Magazine’s recent article “how to get people off their phones in meetings without being a jerk” provides a helpful list of suggestions.

Firstly, it points out you could just ask people to leave their phones outside the meeting room or confirm that phones need to be turned off before the meeting commences. When requesting such things, Forbes says it is vital to explain why it will benefit the meeting. Without an explanation you may come across unreasonable and people will keep thinking of this throughout the meeting, ultimately they won’t concentrate on the topic at hand.

A genuine condition…

It is also important to consider that some people could be suffering ‘Nomophobia’ and some could actually be addicted to their email so meetings can feel like an absolute torture to them. However, instead of giving in and letting them check on their phones during the meeting – give attendees an opportunity for escape. If the meeting lasts longer than the average 45 minutes, make sure you set and announce times for breaks and lunch. Furthermore, make sure you stick to the set times. Otherwise people’s attention will automatically switch off if you haven’t delivered the promised break on time.


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