Do you get annoyed when your employees use their smartphones during a meeting? Well, you are not alone. A survey by USC’s Marshall School of Business revealed that:
- 86 percent of the participants in the survey thought it to be inappropriate to answer a phone call during a formal meeting;
- 84 percent thought it to be inappropriate to send texts or email during a formal meeting;
- 75 percent thought it inappropriate to read texts or emails during a formal meeting;
- 66 percent thought it inappropriate to write texts or emails during any meeting;
- 22 percent thought it inappropriate to use phones during any meeting;
If smartphone use during a meeting bothers you, you are not alone. So, what can you do about it? Below, I have laid out some suggestions:
1. Set Clear Rules Regarding Smartphone Use
Do your employees know that smartphone use during meetings bothers you? If not, tell them. Create a clear smartphone-use policy, and make sure your employees are aware of it. Send a company-wide email explaining the smartphone-use policy, and post this policy in a visible location in the office. Remind your employees of this policy at the beginning of meetings.
2. Follow Your Smartphone Rules
Nothing will undermine a policy more quickly than if your employees see you violating it. So, make sure that you adhere to any smartphone-use policy you have in place.
3. Keep Smartphones on Silent
Most people find noises coming from smartphones, whether it is ringing, a text or email alert, or even a vibration, distracting. Require everyone in a meeting to keep their phone on silent.
4. Check Your Device at the Door
If your employees continue to use their smartphones during meetings even after you have created a smartphone-use policy, consider implementing a check-your-device-at-the-door rule. Keep a large basket near the entry to the meeting room, and have each person in the meeting place their phone in the basket before the meeting starts.
5. Provide for Breaks in the Meeting
If you know that a meeting will last a few hours, make sure that you schedule periodic breaks. Not only will this allow for people to use the bathroom, but it will also let them check their emails and text messages, reducing the temptation to do so during the meeting.
6. Don’t Be Boring!
Is it possible that your employees are using their smartphones because they find the meeting to be boring or pointless? Try to eliminate repetitious and unnecessary content from meetings. Also, ask your employees for their opinion of the meeting. Have them fill out anonymous surveys assessing the quality of the meeting, and asking for ways in which it could have been improved.