It is time someone discusses the appropriate situations to use a mobile phone. All too often I walk into a restaurant and see phone calls or text messages interrupting a conversation. Hard to believe this, but mobile are less than 20 yrs old and having a phone at dinner was unheard of. Time for ground rules to be set.
First Scenario: Your boss asks you to lunch to talk shop and an unexpected customer calls during the meal.
Rule 1: Expected or unexpected calls from customers/prospects during work related activities are considered top priority.
Missing these calls jeopardises your Pick Up Rate (PUR) and for those below 60% lose credibility. It may also make your boss question your priorities. Imagine if you’re an entrepreneur in your own startup, every customer is a key customer. Opponents to this position claim customers are ok with a voicemail because it’s the lunch hour. Instead, international business demands more availability.
Second Scenario: Your friend invites you to his birthday party with a group of friends.
Rule 2: At a social outing with non-work related friends phones shall remain off until the bill is paid.
This will be a tough one to overcome. Using your mobile while out with friends is a natural urge because phones are a big part of our daily lives. But using your phone excessively at social outings gives the impression your electronic conversations are more important than your friends, and it seems to encourage others to follow suit. Before you know it, everyone has been distracted and engaging conversation is lost.
Third Scenario: You invite a significant other out on a romantic date with just the two of you.
Rule 3: mobile phones are not allowed on the table and must be switched off or in flight mode on a date.
Whether this date is at McDonald’s or a Michelin star restaurant, undivided attention is paramount and a cocoon-shaped bubble should be envisioned around the two of you. For those of you who are sneaky, don’t even think about running to the bathroom to check the latest share price of AAPL or text a friend. It will inevitably buzz five minutes later when you’re back at the table. I’ve actually been called out on this one.