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20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings 453

RichDiesal writes "In an upcoming article in Business Communication Quarterly, researchers found that more than half of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to read texts during formal business meetings, whereas only 16% of workers 40+ believe the same thing. 34% of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to answer the phone in the middle of a meeting (i.e., not excusing yourself to answer the phone — answering and talking mid-meeting!). It is unclear if this is happening because more younger workers grew up with mobile technology, or if it's because older workers have the experience to know that answering a call in the middle of a meeting is a terrible idea. So if you're a younger worker, consider leaving your phone alone in meetings to avoid annoying your coworkers. And if you're an older worker annoyed at what you believe to be rude behavior, just remember, it's not you – it's them!"
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20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings

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  • Is this a surprise? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45302613) Journal
    Part of the list of things I go over with my new hires is basic business etiquette. I spend at least an hour per employee on it. The most annoying thing I find is people who have a mother/father/significant other who expect them to always answer the cell phone when they call it. My experience is that a lot of people we hire have never worked in a professional atmosphere before... I'm not sure if this is because of our hiring practices, or is because of the general habits of today's younger workforce. If I am in a meeting I scheduled, and someone my rank or lower answers their phone, I almost always immediately end the meeting, to be rescheduled later. I run meetings so as to waste the minimum amount of time required for everyone; I expect the same from others. The public shaming seems to work well at my current workplace.
  • Zero Tolerance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:37PM (#45302695)
    I work in a fairly large technical sales environment, and we exercise a zero tolerance rule for our younger team members when we are out with clients - if you touch your mobile device for any reason beyond presenting content or sharing contacts relevant to the meeting, you will be reprimanded. Don't leave the device on the table, and don't even think about taking notes on your phone - anything that distracts you and forces you to break eye contact with your customer is a bad thing and makes you look like you're only half-interested in the people in the room.
    We will occasionally experience some belligerence after they have been reprimanded, but we always remind them that the best, most seasoned sales team members only need four things to close a multi-million dollar sale - pen, paper, whiteboard, and business cards.
  • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arisvega ( 1414195 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:39PM (#45302719)

    Who does this? 27 year old here. If one of my employees did this during a meeting with me I would say something like, "Excuse me, was my meeting interrupting your important phone conversation? Perhaps we can reschedule the meeting around your social life. Would 8PM suit you?" (sarcastically)

    Did you consider that the call can actually be more important than "your meeting"? Personally, I assume that if during "my" meeting someone texts or answers a call, then there is a reason for that. And I believe that because I respect the people I am having the meeting with, as they -I assume in good faith- respect me, and they would not divert their attention elsewhere, if it was not for a reason.

    If you are not confident in your leadership skills, it is natural to put a grumpy sour face when someone is audacious enough to fiddle with their phone during "your" meeting.

    Bottomline, don't be a fucking Nazi.

  • by SuperDre ( 982372 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:44PM (#45302791) Homepage
    No, texting is not normal, it's rude and should not be done during meetings or classes unless it actually has something to do with the meeting/class itself.. You're at work/school, so you should leave the private stuff for lunchbreaks or after work.. If it's during my meeting I'll warn you once, if during the same meeting it happens again, I'll warn you twice, if it happens a third time during the same meeting, your mobile will become an UFO that'll crash.. People should just have some respect for others and work, and should know that private calls are not for businesshours unless there really is an emergency.. I pay you to work, not to spend your office hours on your socialmedia hub..
  • Over 40s (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:56PM (#45302967)

    As a 20 something I'm eagerly waiting for these baby boomers to just retire so we don't have to deal with thier nonsense. There is nothing wrong with answering a text message in a meeting if your are not involved in the conversation and you don't disturb anyone else.

    Here is my list of stuff that is rude that over 40s do that I wish would stop:

    • Calling me on the phone and reading out a string of technical information. Put it in writing, put it in an email.
    • Print all of your emails. Sometimes other people would like to use the printer.
    • Complain that "new" technologies like version control are too complicated and therfore not worth learning (I'm not kidding).
    • Expect me to provide you, a programmer with decades of experience, with technical support.
    • Not knowing how to silence your phone.
    • Telling me how much fast/better you can do something than me. Nobody likes a braggart.
    • Grumbling about stuff people my age do, to my face.
    • If you have bifocals you don't need to take your glasses off and lose them.
    • Use Power Point.
  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:57PM (#45302983) Homepage

    You aren't paying me anything. The company is paying me to do a job, and that job is what matters, not your self-important rambling about your findings that don't concern me. If my message helps gets the job done more than whatever you're talking about, then I'm really being paid to send that message, and you're the one being rude by wasting time with the meeting.

  • Re:I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:02PM (#45303037)

    Most of upper management is on their crackberry when anything remotely technical pops up in a meeting.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. Checking their messages should not bother anyone else, so if they are not getting anything from the discussion, at least they are getting something else productive done. Even better is to have a policy that anyone can excuse themselves from a meeting anytime they have nothing to contribute or gain from staying. If you are talking in a meeting, and you notice lots of people checking their phones, maybe you should stop droning on and learn to be more concise.

  • Re:I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:38PM (#45303707)

    Most of upper management is on their crackberry when anything remotely technical pops up in a meeting.

    I think the primary problem is "meeting" is undefined.

    For a 2-person meeting (i.e., you and someone else), I think it's completely rude to text with a third person (that includes crackberries) - a one-on-one is a rare enough event that the person you're with should get your full attention. The rules get relaxed in more informal situations, but a formal business meeting with your boss, or your client, or whatever, no.

    For small group meetings, I suppose it's OK as long as it's not distracting. Especially if you're not really needed or not participating much. If you're a critical speaker, then don't waste everyone else's time by answering texts while everyone's waiting on you.

    For larger meetings, fine go along with it - half the people there already are. Just be cognizant of people around you and move to the back or something so you disturb less people.

    Yes, it's different rules for different situations. In small settings, no, it's completely a bad idea. In larger settings, it doesn't matter so much. If you want to play Angry Birds, go for it, as long as those around you aren't disturbed.

  • by locopuyo ( 1433631 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:50PM (#45304807) Homepage
    If you look at the actual polling they didn't differentiate people that actually attend business meetings or really define what qualifies as a business meeting.

    If you look at how many 20-somethings are still in school, unemployed, under-employed, or just doing some type of non-office work you'll see that a business meeting is something completely different to them.

    Most people on slashdot probably think of a business meeting as a project manager meeting with some technical people in an office meeting room, but most people aren't working in an office as technical people or project managers. A business meeting for someone that works as a waiter or cook at a restaurant could be the manager taking 5 minutes to talk about upcoming catering events in the morning before you start doing work.

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