The NY Times just published an article on manners and mobile devices. In today's world, it is not uncommon to see people break out their Blackberrys and iPhones in meetings, but how far is too far? In the article, the chief executive of a NYC marketing firm recounts a client who played a racing game on his iPhone for an hour and a half during an important meeting. "We didn't say anything," he admits. "We still wanted the business."
Yet the issue merits debate as web-enabled smartphones become more and more common in the working world. (In fact, I previously blogged about how these gadgets are the new makeup for men.) A senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an interesting point on the purpose such devices can serve in meetings: "You'll have half the participants BlackBerrying each other as a submeeting, with a running commentary on the primary meeting. BlackBerrys have become like cartoon thought bubbles."
If business is a competitive sport, meetings are game day. Meetings are where you are on stage and being evaluated, where you have a chance to shine, where decisions are made, people are informed and things get done. Play with your iPhone in practice or on the sidelines, not when you're out on the field!