Allow me to explain by way of three little stories:
Story One: Some time back, I attended an information session (read sales presentation) where the speaker, on no less than two occasions, interrupted their own pitch to answer an incoming call. Beyond being extremely annoying, what their actions said to me was this person had more regard for themselves and whoever was on the end of the line than for anyone in attendance, including myself. Whether they realized it or not, they paid dearly for taking those calls as everyone in the room was either a customer, or a potential one; and I was not first to walk out with no intention of ever coming back.
Story Two: In my previous life (when I actually worked for a living) I attended a lot of meetings. I'd like to tell you that all of those meeting were productive; but sadly, thanks to cell phones and the like, many were not. I remember at least a couple of occasions where the person who called the meeting in the first place, took a call on their cell part way through it, and then promptly left! I also recall, and again on more than one occasion, observing other participants busily texting while someone, often the boss, was speaking. But the ultimate disaster had to be when one poor soul answered a call while the person presenting was none other than the CEO. I've often wondered whatever happened to good old Robert. One thing is for sure - he paid a heavy price indeed.
Story Three: As many of you know, I teach the odd course at local colleges and universities. Much as I am embarrassed to admit it, I can't tell you how many times I've had a student jump up and leave the room to take a call. I've even had a few who have taken the call without leaving the room. Personally, I find this a bit disturbing, especially as most of the teaching I do is on either the topic of enhancing the customer experience, or on public speaking; two practices which don't take kindly to this kind of interruption. And since I mark not so much on what the student knows, but rather on the demonstration of what they have learned, here too the price was high.
So what do these little stories tell us?
Just as the use of handheld devices while driving has caused countless needless accidents, many of which resulted in grievous bodily harm, even death; the use of these same devices while in the classroom, or at a business meeting has caused grievous harm to numerous GPAs and careers, not to mention, killed many a sale.
So unless you're a cardiologist, paramedic or firefighter... or your wife is nine months pregnant, you should probably turn off whatever pesky bit of communication technology you carry long before you step foot in a classroom, boardroom or client's offices.
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