Are you reading this on your phone? In a meeting? You're in good company

Here's something that shouldn't really be all that surprising: technology is making people ruder in social situations. Many of them just can't tear themselves away from their phones. Anyone with a teenage son or daughter could testify to the fact that it's hard to get their undivided attention if they have a phone or iPod in their hand.

But it's not just happening at a social level, it's happening at work too. According to research from social email player harmon.ie, 41% of people stay glued to their phones during face-to-face meetings, 31% would go as far as to answer them and 19% of staff are prepared to carry on being connected even when they have been told to disconnect.

To me, there are only two possible solutions to this problem. Confiscate everyone's mobiles on the way into a meeting (or get them to put them in a box at the door). Draconian? Maybe, but it would work. 

And it's probably much easier for many managers to implement than my other solution; make meetings shorter - and more interesting.

This was first published in August 2011

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