This seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. It really happens. Every day, thousands of times!
Salespeople who take phone calls, read emails and answer emails on their mobile devices… while face-to-face with clients.
Hello-o-o-o? (Pun intended.)
I recently read of a CEO who tells executives who even glance at their Blackerries during internal meetings, “How would you like it if you brought me in to a meeting, and I started reading the newspaper?”
Different medium. Same principle.
Now move the CEO scene to an external meeting. No boss. Just a buyer. STOP RIGHT THERE… take the word “just” out of there… before we go any further…
Different relationship. Critically important relationship. Same principle.
There is absolutely no place for a Blackberry, iPhone or any sexy mobile device in a meeting with a prospect or client, unless you and the client mutually agree to make a call or to research something online.
O.K., there are exceptions to every rule, but…
create them at your peril. Maybe you’ve got a sick child at home, a family friend in surgery, or the deal of the century on the other side of the planet. Maybe then, you can leave your device on. But even then, think twice. Can’t the urgent call wait until the meeting is over?
O.K., so you’ve thought twice and opted to leave the phone on. You must tell the client, “I’m sorry, I have to leave my phone on for this one potentially urgent matter.” Now don’t you dare attend to any other matter!
Shall I outline Jack’s umpteen benefits to turning off your mobile devices? I’ll spare you the bullets. But I do like this blog post Who Needs Information? from Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi.
Roberts only briefly mentions the quality of our face-to-face communications being reduced by the distraction of mobile devices. Instead, he focuses on the quality of our own lives.
“I’m all for… the enhancement of the screen as a force for good in the world,” Roberts writes. “Just not at the expense of the world itself.”
Likewise, I’m all for the power of mobile technology in our relationships, including client relationships. Just not at the expense of the relationship itself.
Your can’t look your client in the eye if you’re looking at your mobile.