This is your Captain speaking! Please turn off your cell phone and any electrical devices for the duration of this networking event!
Technology, although not always visible, is evident or influential in almost everything that we do in our society today. It has had an immeasurable effect on our culture and will continue to as it evolves. Most of us, whether we admit it or not, are addicted to cell phones and we talk on them constantly, even while driving. This kind of instantaneous, always-on connectivity that many of us enjoy can cause us to be at a disadvantage.
Nomophobia. What is it? Nomophobia is the fear of being without your cell phone and statistics tell us that it affects 66 per cent of us. If you think you may suffer from nomophobia – or ‘no mobile phone phobia’ – then the warning signs are:
• An inability to ever turn your phone off
• Obsessively checking for missed calls, e-mail and texts
• Constantly topping up your battery life
• Being unable to go to the bathroom without taking your phone in with you
Does that sound like you? Here is your first test:
At your next networking event, remember to turn off your cell phone.
“Shut of my cell phone? Are you kidding! How will I be connected?”
We are 24/7 connected with cell phones AND at a networking event you need most to be connected to your awareness. It won’t hurt you to be disconnected to the outside world for an hour or more. The important thing is to be present to opportunity without the smartphone distraction. Turn off the vibrate function too. That too, can also be a major blunder.
“Although many people think they can multitask, research suggests that the brain tends to focus on one major activity at a time, while slowing the processing of other external cues. That is why talking on a cell phone may cause ‘inattention blindness.'” ~ Linda Shrieves
Focus! Make it a point to focus your attention on the discussion with the person in front of you, rather than appearing to be preoccupied with your Facebook, Twitter, texting or e-mail. To do otherwise is rude and says that anything coming through on the phone is more important than them – that you don’t care about their time, and that you don’t take the time you spend with them seriously. By the way, while you are talking to someone never look over their shoulder as if to look for someone more important to talk with. That’s rude too. It’s a matter of respect.
Eliminating this distraction temporarily is a sure way to maximize your connection and let them know that they are your designated point of interest at this moment. Your networking productivity will automatically improve. Switching off your smartphone will also improve your efficiency during the meeting. You can always check voice mail later.
Taking a time-out from your cell phone at a networking meeting or event will help you feel more motivated to do the work you came to do – make new connections and offer your assistance to all who need it. Unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, or leader of a nation, you are not important enough to need to talk anyone else while at a networking function.
My cell phone is my handy sidekick, but I never allow it to distract me from the important business of connecting – really connecting – at a networking event.
I hereby declare that all networking meetings and events will hereafter be considered “no cell phone zones!” 😉
Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you” to Ivan Misner for the inspiration for this article!
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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