July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, which makes it the perfect time to reflect on mobile phone habits. It’s also a great time to spend a little less time on the phone and a little more time in the present moment, especially when enjoying the company of others over a personal or business meal:
- When dining at a table, or sitting at a table with others, pay attention to those with whom you are dining. Have your cell phone on mute, airplane mode, or completely turned off and put away. If you can see it, it will be a distraction because you may be tempted to look at it or check it for notifications.
- If expecting a call or text or needing to make a call or text at a specific time, let your friends, family, or colleagues know in advance and place your phone close by, but not in sight (and NEVER on the table), with the phone on silent and set to vibrate mode. Then excuse yourself and leave the table to take or make the important call or text. Do not speak or text from the table, even for a quick response!
- If someone at a nearby table is being inconsiderate with their mobile device by speaking too loudly, request a different table or ask a restaurant employee to request that person tone down their speaking volume and even step away from the dining area. It is not your place to request that, as confrontation should be avoided and situations should be handled by employees, not patrons. And remember if you give someone the “stink eye” it is a reflection on you and could be considered unprofessional, so try to avoid that as well.
- 24 hours (or on Monday if sent on a Friday for business) is a reasonable amount of time to respond to a call, voicemail, text, or email. Just because it is delivered instantaneously, does not mean a response should be as well.
There is a wonderful saying…” Dine with me, know me” so don’t let an opportunity get away from you to truly communicate and connect in person because of your mobile device. Make a conscious effort to give your complete and full attention to those in your presence.