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Phone Tips & Tricks: Get Disconnected

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Last week we were talking about air travel etiquette. As we saw, there is a time and a place for using your cell phone. With smart phones, we find it easy to be connected all the time, but are there instances when we simply need to be disconnected? When is it necessary to silence or turn off your phone completely? A few instances come to my mind:

1. The movies- I feel like movie theaters should be a "No Phone Zone." A lot of folks will say that it's best to silence your phone during a movie. It's terrible when a phone goes off in the middle of a film, but in a dark theater it is even more distracting to have a white light shining in your peripherals when you are trying to enjoy on the movie you paid to see.

2. A date: I think this one's pretty explanatory. Best just to have all of your attention on that special someone.

3. A speaking engagement: I have a few thoughts on cell phones at conferences and speaking engagements. I think in the age that we live in, it's perfectly fine to have a phone on during a speech or a conference keynote. In fact, the speaker may even appreciate having his or her thoughts tweeted or mentioned on the internet. I do think, however, that small sessions and more intimate speeches should be cell phone free. If the speaker or conference invites cell phone participation, that's great, but otherwise, it's much more distracting to speak to a room of folks who are looking down at their phones. Besides, you may miss an awesome point by checking your email!

4. Meetings: I think meetings are more productive when the entire team is present both physically and mentally. More gets accomplished when all participants are actively tuning in and sharing their ideas. There are special circumstances for having your phone in a meeting, but for the most part, it's best just to leave your phone at your desk.

When should your phone be off or completely silent?

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