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Ackert Blog

Business Etiquette in the Digital Age

The digital age has introduced myriad challenges into our lives. How can we use social media efficiently? What's the best way to minimize incoming spam without becoming inaccessible to prospects? And when will Apple figure out how to get Siri to understand what we tell her? 


Last week I talked about 5 credibility-killers to avoid, but perhaps the biggest challenge is how to reconcile 21st-century habits into a good old-fashioned meeting without offending anyone. I struggle with this as much as anyone I know. I recognize that, regardless of whether it's a networking lunch or a board meeting, my focus should be on the other people in the room, and yet I fight the urge to sneak a peek at my mobile device the moment I think no one is watching. But to give in to the impulse is, in my opinion, a violation of basic business etiquette. 

So unless you're expecting a baby this week, power down and put away your iPads, iPhones, and other iSores. Just because you placed your mobile face down on the conference room table doesn't mean you've given your guests your full attention. Rather, it communicates that some part of your consciousness is elsewhere, standing by to answer as soon as your device starts buzzing or chirping. 

In fact, at the beginning of the meeting, make a point to say, "Give me a moment to power down my phone, so you have my full attention." It's a classy move that makes the others in the room feel that, at least for the next few minutes, their presence matters more to you than your email inbox.

Authored by David Ackert

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