I've followed communications professional Lloyd Corder's email newsletter, C-Note$, for years. It's always full of clear, useful advice—the kind that makes you say, "Of course—why didn't I see that before?" I asked Lloyd to weigh in on how today's communications technology, including social media, e-newsletters (like his), blogs and so on have changed the way he communicates. As usual, he came back with some useful, clear advice. And as usual, I reacted with "Of course. Why didin't I think of that before?"
How to keep your smart phone from screwing up your relationshipsLloyd Corder, Ph.D.
I have to tell you, that I think of you more than you realize I'm sure. Every time I'm going into a meeting with someone, I pull my phone out and turn it off or to vibrate. You did that one time we met and I never forgot how I felt "Wow, he's taking this very serious and only wants to concentrate on me while we're meeting." Very powerful stuff.That made my day.
Within in your grasp—every day and at multiple times—you have the power to show you truly care…you are a great listener…you can accept someone for who and where they are in their life…you can show and be loved…and—most importantly—you can make someone’s life better.
- Smart phones are the single biggest distraction in our lives. For many of us, instead of us being “all in” when we’re meeting with someone we know is important—like our friends, family members, coworkers and others—we are only partly paying attention. We may be there physically, but mentally and emotionally we’re thinking about emails, texting someone miles away, surfing the Internet or wondering how many likes we’ll get from our latest post. Our smart phones make it seem like we are afflicted with some form of attention deficit disorder.
- Smart phones mess up our eye contact. We trust people who look at us. It’s tough to read someone when they are constantly looking away or at their phone. It suggests they would rather be somewhere else or doing something different. Smart phones are seductive. They trick us into thinking that I’ll just look away for a moment, and then I’ll be able to refocus. Forget it. You’ll want to check your phone every few minutes. It will become such a force of habit that you won’t even realize you’re doing it.
- Smart phones make us feel like we have more control, but we actually don’t. We have so many new communications tools available to us. But are we any better communicators? Are your relationships better now than they were five years ago? Does it really matter to you that you now know the minutia of other peoples’ lives through their barrage of posts? Wouldn’t you rather understand the big picture of the people you care about?
From my vantage point, you have two basic options.
First, you can go on letting your smart phone be the boss of your life. Bring it everywhere you go. Never turn it off. Let it distract, seduce and control you to your heart’s content. If you chose this path, don’t worry. A lot of people are on it. You’ll blend in fine and most people won’t notice the difference anyway—since they will be on their smart phones doing the same thing.