Stop Texting During Meetings. It's Rude!

Last Updated May 18, 2010 11:04 AM EDT

Put...the BlackBerry...down. If you're texting during a meeting, you're insulting the presenter. Of course, the presenter is probably guilty of the same behavior when someone else is running the show.

That's the bottom line of a decade-long "incivility" study of 9,000 managers and workers. Writing for The New York Times, Christine Pearson notes that workers who text or e-mail during meetings suffer from the "illusion that multitasking can aid productivity."

What's more, interacting with your phone or computer while working with colleagues will likely have this result:

...if you ignore your colleagues while jabbering on your cellphone, keep others waiting for an appointment while you check your e-mail or send something electronically that should be delivered in person, some people will see you as inconsiderate.

One of the most annoying examples is texting and checking e-mail while working with colleagues. Some workers would call this disruptive; others would say it is downright insulting.

I admit it: I occasionally check my e-mail during meetings, but only because I'm bored. However, I rarely do so in social situations, like when I'm eating dinner with friends or family. And if I do, I apologize for it and explain that I'm dealing with something important (which I am).

What about you? Are you talking, texting, or typing when you should be listening? If so, the NYT article offers tips on how to break the habit, including:

  • Keep your own use of electronic devices at a minimum when interacting with others. If you have an urgent need to use one, let others know.
  • If you are on the receiving end of an electronic disappearing act and want face-to-face attention, politely ask for it.
Your turn: hit the comments and share your thoughts on this rude (but ubiquitous) behavior. (Photo by Joi)
More on BNET:
  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.