Jim 3 Comments

10 CellPhoneCrowdA colleague and I recently attended a breakfast networking event. We were impressed with the speaker who shared practical steps with attendees for increasing cash flow in their business; a subject that was of interest to many if the attendance numbers were any indication.

The tables were numbered and we sat at Table 18 with a colleague whom we knew from previous networking events and other small business owners from the local community.

During the presentation, we were aware of another conversation taking place nearby and noticed that it was coming from neighboring Table 17 and realized that one of the attendees was talking on his cell phone while seated at that table. We noticed several other attendees leaving the room hurriedly with cell phones glued to their ears. We were grateful that they left the room to hold their so important conversations.

Our neighbor’s seemingly endless call eventually finished and he pocketed his phone the courtesy of putting the ringer on mute or vibrate. But, a few minutes later, another call came in and he took it, again remaining in the room to conduct his business. We were struck with the rudeness of this behavior. The fellow’s conversation made it difficult for us to pay attention to the speaker.

Yet sadly, this behavior is becoming the norm. Are we becoming so insensitive to the common courtesies that our parents and teachers taught us? Are the rules of simple thoughtfulness changing that dramatically? Is etiquette now so passé, so “last century”?

I wonder why someone would take the time from his business to come to a seminar if he can’t put his phone away for 2 hours to pay attention?

Because I am a business coach, I am keenly aware of marketing and customer service. I pay attention when they are done well, and when they are done badly. You are always marketing your business. What was the marketing message at Table 17? What message did that behavior convey? Could we expect that person’s customers would receive respectful attention?

Mr. Table 17, you did not represent your business well. You made your phone calls more important than the people at your table, the people at the tables around you and the speaker. I can only surmise that you care about your business because you showed up this morning to hear some important information. Please care enough about your business to let your calls go to voicemail when you are attending seminars or meeting with people. Project the professional image that respect and courtesy convey. You’ll be marketing yourself and your business better with your attentiveness than your apparent too-busy-to-pay-attention demeanor.

As business owners, we are always communicating a message. Is the message one of awareness and caring or one of disregard and disdain? A good question to ask ourselves and those closest to us – repeatedly.

That’s all I am asking…


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