Disconnect from Your Smartphone to be More Successful

July 29, 2014

We’ve already covered the importance of ditching your inbox first thing in the morning in order to see more success, but what’s next? 

We now would like to take a look at something much smaller that could be inhibiting your impression on management and coworkers in the workplace—Your Smartphone.


Drop Calls, Ignore Texts, Don’t Even Open Emails

We’re not saying to break out your Motorola RAZR and cancel your data plan, but it’s becoming more and more important to stop bringing your smartphone to meetings and even offsite lunches.  Why?

Related: Six Tips to Become More Effective

New research from USC’s Marshall School of Business asked 554 full-time working professionals earning above $30K and working in companies with at least 50 employees.  Researchers asked a variety of questions about smartphone use during meetings and found:

  • 86% think it’s inappropriate to answer phone calls during meetings
  • 84% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails during meetings
  • 66% think it’s inappropriate to write texts or emails even during lunches offsite
  • The more money people make the less they approve of smartphone use.

The ironic point is that the lowest people on their respective totem poles found the habit acceptable.  These same people who rely on the opinions of those older than them for promotion, increased pay, and even job security.

Why? Respect, Awareness, Attention (Among others)

You may be saying, “Meetings are pointless and a waste of the time I spend here.” This may be true, but understanding and adapting to a culture is the only way you can move up.  Consider why it makes you look less professional. When you take out your phone it shows a:

  • Lack of respect. You consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand, and you view people outside of the meeting to be more important than those sitting right in front of you.
  • Lack of attention. You are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • Lack of listening. You aren’t practicing active listening, so no one around you feels heard.
  • Lack of power. You are like a modern-day Pavlovian dog who responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
  • Lack of self-awareness: You don’t understand how ridiculous your behavior looks to other people.
  • Lack of social awareness: You don’t understand how your behavior affects those around you.

Save the Phone for the Lunch Break

Albeit, these seem like common sense, but especially for individuals looking to move up in a company, ditching the phone during meetings will do wonders for impressions on coworkers. 

Some of the most successful even have cleared their apps. Consider Mark Cuban, who admits to only having 13 Apps on his phone, including many you wouldn’t expect.  Business Insider shares those applications on his phone.

So is there a correlation between fewer apps and more success? We wouldn’t go that far, but we do recommend that you set down the phone and pay attention to who’s speaking in the meeting.

Related: 4 Roles of the Modern CFO

The Overture Group cares about helping you find the right workers that will offer success to your company.  We welcome you to download our Talent Acquisition: a Road Map for Success whitepaper, and contact us to better achieve your recruiting goals.

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