Can You Hear Me Now? It’s Time for Some Cellphone Courtesy!

IPhone_ringtonesJuly is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and I think there are a lot of people who can’t wait for the month to be over. They are only outnumbered by the folks who didn’t know July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month along with those who just don’t care.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I think we would be a lot better off if we weren’t quite so addicted to 24/7 on-demand communication. If you expect your wife to go into labor at any moment, okay, but in most other cases, calls and text messages can easily wait for the proper setting before being engaged.

I speak at a many conferences and award dinners and I always start the sessions by asking attendees to turn off or at least silence their cellphones. Invariably there’s one person who either wasn’t paying attention or just didn’t care and suddenly everyone is treated to the world’s most painful low-fidelity broadcast of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”

Your undivided attention

These settings are natural places to do some networking after the main event and you don’t want to be pegged as “the person whose cellphone went off.” And in the more general sense, being distracted by a cellphone during any business interaction is not a good thing.

First, it tells your contacts and associates that they don’t have your undivided attention and second, even when it’s innocent and others seem understanding, it breaks the flow of the conversation. Of course, this gets even worse if you utter the dreaded, “I have to take this,” turn your back and walk away.

Further, I think there’s sufficient research today proving that we are really incapable of multitasking efficiently. I’m thinking of this in the context of taking an evening out with family and friends. Last year a colleague of mine told me about an NHL game he went to. About four guys sat down in the row ahead of him and one was on and off his phone for business reasons all night long. This poor guy had no chance to truly enjoy the experience of being at the game and or in the company of his friends.

Don’t multitask pleasure out of your life.

The happy places

A recent survey uncovered an astounding piece of information: The five cities in the United States where people are the happiest are all in Louisiana.

Gee, shouldn’t number one be New York City, with its extensive and diverse cultural life? No, in fact the Big Apple apparently has some core problems: it made the “five unhappiest cities” list.

If you’ve ever experienced Louisiana, you know that it’s a place where people take the time to enjoy family and friends, and they don’t let the encumbrances and distractions of modern life impede savoring those special times spent together. It’s a lesson we could all learn, and a good place to start would be by practicing cell phone courtesy all year long.

You won’t regret it; I can assure you that no one’s last words will ever be, “I wish I had spent more time on my cellphone…”

Sponsored by AT&T

Image: By Hotdigitals (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.