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back to article In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake DON'T READ THIS

Are you reading this on a small gizmo or gadget of some kind? Take a look around, my friend. Are you in a meeting, a luncheon, or some other situation of that kind? Are there ladies present (other than yourself, should you happen to be one?) If so - stop reading now, put away your fondleslab or mobe (don't just lay it down, …

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Facepalm

Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

It took a "professor" of business gibberish to figure that out?

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Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

Oh Homer, there is a difference between "ignoring people" and "doing your job".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

And women take it more personally than men. Try ignoring the SWMBO for a test.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

General civility has become rocket surgery for most people these days.

While you can't please everyone, most people aren't even trying.

I wonder why? ------------>>

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Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

And you say that on the day that El Reg introduced the Troll Blocker icon!

Trolls are people too, you know?

(Actually, you're right, they're actually trolls, aren't they? Silly me.)

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Anonymous Coward

Listen

If a woman is present they like you to swoon and fawn over them, they expect it, you get more out if it of you ask her about herself and feign interest, let her speak and tell you about herself. They love it because it gives the impression that you are interested in them. Keep your mouth shut nod a few times an smile.

Then nip off to the toilet text your mates and tell them you have not only pulled but are about to score.

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Mushroom

Re: Listen

Ignoring SWMBO! You obviously have a deathwish!

The effect of ignoring SWMBO -------->

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Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

To be fair, lack of general civility is nothing new in human history.

OH! Just noticed the new short term edit button! Well done El Reg! My deslexyca thanks you!

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Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

+1 for the edit button!

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Re: Listen

I hope I am not working in the company you work for. I have worked alongside guys with your attitude and, believe me, them looking at their mobes is a relief from having their attention on the room of men and women, because women are not stupid: they know that you have contempt for them and are a liar, and it causes considerable tension in the room, but as if, say, a racist were sitting alongside us.

We'd rather you just nipped off to the toilets at the start and start your usual brag, because of course we would believe a bro like you about a ho like them.

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Edit button

big_D, there's been an edit button for ages!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Edit button

only once you reach a high enough post count

Ooo now it works on anons and everybody, at last!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ignoring People is Rude, Shock Study Reveals

@Jake - still the clueless sanctimonious prig we've all come to know.

Oh well, I guess there's something to be said for consistency at least.

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Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

... I never have any electronic attractions "alive and available" when in meetings that might lead to money. Only stands to reason ... Pay attention to the person you are face-to-face with. And the contract you are trying to hammer out. Outside distractions are contra-indicated.

!GooMyFaceYouMsTwit really isn't important in such scenarios. Nor are telephone calls from your spouse/sprog/beer-buddies, who should all understand that you are at work.

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Childcatcher

Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

Heh.... Some people are positively shocked when my mum (definitely NOT a techno-nerd - though she does use Linux :-P) reveals in conversation she won't idly call her children at work, because they are at work to do work (/real/ emergencies excepting, obviously). Some people apparently honestly can't get their heads around the idea that other people have their own things to do!

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Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

"Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

... I never have any electronic attractions "alive and available" when in meetings that might lead to money. Only stands to reason ... Pay attention to the person you are face-to-face with. And the contract you are trying to hammer out. Outside distractions are contra-indicated."

Would that be a "money is the only thing that matters to me so if you're not bringing any please f*ck *ff now because I've got better things to do" sort of techno-nerd male?

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@ WhoaWhoa (was:Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...)

No, that's a "I'm working now, so all my publicly available electronics are shut off so you can't bother me at work, you needy, lifeless idiot".

Ain't rocket science ...

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Re: @ WhoaWhoa (was:Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...)

Even company email and SMS aren't that important, or the person would ring up. You are in a meeting for a reason, it should be requiring your full attention - otherwise, what the hell are you doing at the meeting!

If it is really important, they will call, get your mailbox and will then call the central number and if it really is important, somebody will pull you out of the meeting.

In such a situation, it shows the customer that you are not distracted and you are taking them seriously. And if you are pulled out of the meeting, then they should appreciate that if there really is an emergency, then it takes top priority. That is reassuring; on the one hand they feel a little snubbed, because you had to leave, on the other hand, they feel more secure, because they know, that if it was them that had a big problem, that you would also drop everything to ensure that their needs are met.

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Re: @ WhoaWhoa (was:Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...)

Your in a meeting for a reason? Hahaha, oh how naive! If only that were true, most meetings are completely pointless exercises designed to show you the manager is still alive and in fact in 'control'. i would say at most, that 10% of meetings that happen, should happen. The others are a waste of time.

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Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

"Do not disturb", "Flight mode" or OFF.

"Silent" mode when in an open office or on public transport (you probably can not hear it above the noise anyway) if you must be available.

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Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

"if you must be available."

There's another interesting take on social interaction. Those who "must be available" are often lower on the corporate pecking order. When the phone rings, it might be a superior. And you'd better take the call. Important people tend to be in charge of (and in control of) their own time. When the phone rings, it can go to voice mail. Or your staff can handle it.

Status impresses everyone, particularly women. And they seem to understand this social dynamic to a greater degree than many men do.

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Flame

Re: Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...

omg I just upvoted jake. Is it unseasonably frosty down there in the underworld?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ WhoaWhoa (was:Speaking as a techno-nerd male ...)

The last meeting I went to prior to retirement was one of these.

I left before the item to discuss why the company was getting so much slip on projects.

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@big_D 28-Oct2013 12:41

There are business meetings and then there are business meetings. At the first it is acceptable to periodically check your inbox or take a call. At the second it is unacceptable. I am frequently in the first one, almost never the second*. Sales pitch meetings are of the second type. The weekly gathering of the tech staff to review mundane management type things is the first sort. And being a tech who gets notified of emergencies by email and phone, that's the reason it is ok for me to check. If the world is coming to and end for one or more of the users I support, it is then appropriate for me to excuse myself to deal with the issue.

*In my work career of more than 15 years since such devices have been commonly available I'd count 3 RIF meetings and 2 Furlough/shutdown meetings for the second category. Nobody is damn fool enough to take me to a sales meeting. I tell the truth too much.

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Well, I'm male, and I find any phone/gadget use during meetings and presentations unacceptable.

To the point where, if I'm giving a presentation, and someone is using a phone or tablet, I will stop the presentation, explain to everyone present that when we are all ready to continue, I will do so at their earliest convenience; and I will wait until anyone messing about with their gadgets has returned their attention to the meeting.

I've interviewed job candidates who have actually pulled out their phones and started texting, right there in front of me. Needless to say, I've politely informed them at that point that they won't be considered for the position, and they would save their own time and mine by departing forthwith.

I also refuse to hold conversations with people who keep diverting their attention to their phone. I generally give them three warnings, after that I will simply leave, ignore them, or go about my own business, even if they try to pick it up again when they're done.

It's basic human courtesy that when someone is talking to you, you pay attention to them.

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@Steven

I can trump that - I've been in one interview (as the interviewee) where one of the *interviewers* has pulled out his phone and started browsing. I suspect it was done deliberately as a tactic, but needless to say, I'm not doing that job.

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To the point where, if I'm giving a presentation, and someone is using a phone or tablet, I will stop the presentation, explain to everyone present that when we are all ready to continue, I will do so at their earliest convenience; and I will wait until anyone messing about with their gadgets has returned their attention to the meeting.

Man, I bet you're a riot at parties.

I also refuse to hold conversations with people who keep diverting their attention to their phone. I generally give them three warnings, after that I will simply leave, ignore them, or go about my own business, even if they try to pick it up again when they're done.

If you were ever so patronising to do that with me, I think I would pull out three different gadgets to get you to leave more quickly. I'm more than capable of listening to someone and simultaneously investigating whether the incoming alert on my phone is just another friend blathering on Facebook or something more important than you that demands my attention. And yes, it quite possible in my line of work that an alert on my phone is more important than whatever you're banging on about, in which case I'd save you the trouble of bemoaning connectivity and leave the conversation first.

If you need someone to lock their gaze on your steely visage at all times whenever you're speaking to avoid being offended, perhaps the problem isn't them.

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@Greg J Preece

You are fired. Why? For wasting company time playing with your toy.

I hope that's not your real name ... TehIntraWebTubes have a long memory.

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Sorry, you're wrong, and that is rude. Unless you're in such a large meeting you can get away with it without being noticed.

Because let's be honest, a lot of large meetings are boring and pointless.

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@Greg - you can't, you only think you can. There are a very, very few number of people in the world who can do multiple cognitive tasks at once, you are most likely not one of them. And, even if you are, your fiddling is almost certainly distracting people around you who might not be quite so, er, "gifted" as yourself.

The police have been investigating the affect of technical distractions such as using the phone on drivers: it seems to affect reaction time in a similar way to alcohol, texting is even worse.

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Unwarranted assumptions

> To the point where, if I'm giving a presentation, and someone is using a phone or tablet,

> I will stop the presentation, explain to everyone present that when we are all ready to

> continue, I will do so at their earliest convenience; and I will wait until anyone

> messing about with their gadgets has returned their attention to the meeting.

In doing this, you've made a number of assumptions:

0) That they aren't noting down an otherwise distracting thought that will keep them from paying attention later.

1) That they don't already know the details of what you are saying, or the details behind that.

2) That each part of the content being delivered is relevant for them, in what they need to do for the business.

3) That they can't follow your line of logic, and get to the conclusion more quickly than your slides.

4) That they haven't recognized the balderdash you're serving as coming directly from a Gartner report without taking into account local requirements.

5) That they are not aware of political considerations at work that mean your presentation is irrelevant even though you don't know it yet.

6) That they haven't spotted a logical flaw in your presentation that means the approach will not work.

For the last three cases that person intelligence that might help you, and you have guaranteed that they will not share that with you. You've also completely interrupted the others who had been focused, which shows a great disregard for the mass of your audience.

> It's basic human courtesy that when someone is talking to you, you pay attention to them.

I don't thinking "talking" is what you have in mind. Talking implies a bi-directional exchange. I think you meant speaking, directing, exhorting, or admonishing.

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I think the 'very few' is far, far smaller than that --possibly zero.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

"[...]And yes, it quite possible in my line of work that an alert on my phone is more important than whatever you're banging on about[...]"

"@Greg J Preece. You are fired. Why? For wasting company time playing with your toy."

I don't know about you, but it read to me like it is a company mobile and he's getting company-based alerts. I think he'd be fired for ignoring them, rather than answering them, but that's just me and my strange ideas of reading what people actually wrote before commenting.

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"I'm more than capable of listening to someone and simultaneously..."

No you are not. You may think you are but each properly designed experiment on attention has suggested otherwise.

Especially when the inputs are delivered via different sense modes.

Try Googling John Sweller's work if you want some full on academic reading.

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"I'm more than capable of listening to someone and simultaneously investigating whether the incoming alert on my phone is just another friend blathering on Facebook or something more important than you that demands my attention."

Yeah, people that do that sort of crap always think they're capable of "multi-tasking". And then it turns out that they're not and everyone has to repeat themselves for the benefit of Mr ADD in the corner. Generally, it's easier and more productive to just fire them and get someone in who can focus on what's going on.

XKCD

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Anonymous Coward

"Well, I'm male, and I find any phone/gadget use during meetings and presentations unacceptable."

I've never been at a "presentation" where a 5 min group chat would have conveyed more info and one which would have received more attention too. The most useless piece of software is one designed for presentations, if you need it you need to learn how to present properly.

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Facepalm

So, you're assuming they're not taking notes then? Maybe you should look at mobile use at meetings and presentations as a sign that you've said something interesting and they want to jot it down for future reference.

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@Greg J Preece

> Man, I bet you're a riot at parties.

I prefer to avoid the kind of parties where people get confused as to whether it's a party or a presentation.

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Re: Unwarranted assumptions

Add to that, you are assuming that people are not taking notes on a tablet, because they have given up using old-fashioned paper, as they actually want to be able to search and read those notes later.

At Manchester Medical School, every fourth year student was given an iPad to use as they went out to hospitals. They found the devices ideal for keeping track of everything they did and learned in consultations, recording their performance and elsewhere. It became the repository for all the knowledge they created.

So anyone banning the use of tablets at a business meeting is sabotaging the business, preventing the capture and accumulation of the knowledge generated during the meeting.

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"Man, I bet you're a riot at parties."

Well, probably more fun than the person who keeps pulling out their phone and txting.

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Re: Unwarranted assumptions @Alan

Point 0 is acceptable, in fact I often jot down notes in a meeting. But I make it a point to say that I am taking notes on my tablet - using a pen to take notes on the tablet, whilst keeping eye contact with the presenter helps as well - although I still often take notes on paper instead of on the tablet, because it is less distracting for those around me.

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Re: @DavCrav

I'd say even if it is a company device and official messages, they should be ignored until a break in the meeting or the boss sends in somebody to pull you out of the meeting. That's the way we do it.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

>>I think he'd be fired for ignoring them

I grant that the person may be on pikett duty and so be liable to emergency calls, or he may be awaiting a really important call from a customer or some poor field engineer on site, who is fending off a customer with a problem. But in such cases, it is easy to warn the meeting that you may have to leave urgently, keep your mobile on vibrate and silent and, should it ring, leave the room discretely to answer it (having made sure you are near the door and know how to open it).

In an interview, for either party, there is no excuse for keeping your mobile on. At a meal, see above and never, ever, put your precious on the table.

If you are the speaker or presenter, your audience should have your full, uninterrupted attention. If you can not arrange your time accordingly, you are in the wrong job.

Getting or making calls or messages is not a sign of your importance, cleverness or indispensability.

Finally, nobody is that important.

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Anonymous Coward

gadgets for notes?

I know iPads or similar are popular now and can be used for notes reasonably well, having a touch keyboard; but the clacking of a laptop keyboard is one of the nastiest intrusions in a meeting. The sight of half the attendees showing just the tops of their heads as they squint down at their Galaxy or whatever, concentrating on tapping the right keys on the screen …. Ugh.

The speaker would probably appreciate the visible evidence and response of attentive faces and expressions. Otherwise, you may as well do just "online" meetings, when at least you know that your audience are almost certainly doing something quite unrelated to the meeting on another screen or device.

Anyway, paper and pencil are the most effective: they require far less concentration to use, are less intrusive for other people and can even be used without looking at the paper most of the time.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

You are fired. Why? For wasting company time playing with your toy.

That'll be my Mother in the hospital, and a sueball heading your way. Here, catch.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

I don't know about you, but it read to me like it is a company mobile and he's getting company-based alerts. I think he'd be fired for ignoring them, rather than answering them, but that's just me and my strange ideas of reading what people actually wrote before commenting.

You are correct, have an upvote. Checking the alerts on my phone to see if a server just keeled over is not "playing with my toy", especially given that it's a toy the company bought me for that exact purpose. Not sure the rest of you get how priorities work when you're a developer/admin.

As for the implied threat of "long memory", given that I posted with my real name, I hope that future employers do read this and understand that I have the required dedication to my role, which is partly to keep everything working.

I give presentations too, you know.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

> You are correct, have an upvote. Checking the alerts on my phone to see if a server just keeled over is not "playing with my toy", especially given that it's a toy the company bought me for that exact purpose. Not sure the rest of you get how priorities work when you're a developer/admin.

The vast, vast majority of people in meetings are not these types of people.

In any case, If you are an operator responsible for machines and your system is *that* flaky that you need to be checking a mobile phone every minute or two, then might I suggest you have some serious problems?

> I give presentations too, you know.

And if you have something worth listening to, I hope you don't find yourself giving it to a room full of school children with the attention span of a few seconds.

The right comment from someone above suggests that if there is an emergency worthwhile grabbing you out of a meeting, someone will come and get you and everyone else will understand.

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Re: @Greg J Preece

In any case, If you are an operator responsible for machines and your system is *that* flaky that you need to be checking a mobile phone every minute or two, then might I suggest you have some serious problems?

Now what part of what I've said at any point implies that I'm constantly checking my phone? Alerts aren't something I generate - they come in when necessary. We have a whole bunch of servers hooked up to the same alerting system, some far more critical than others (including development servers that temporarily scream murder every time someone deploys a new test image). Unfortunately, the mobile client I use only lets me have one ringtone for each alert type, not each machine, and on vibrate it's all the same, so when that thing rings you can bet your wages I'm checking it.

Alerts are just an example I was using of how not all mobile phone use is talking to friends on the Twatters or idly playing games. That might be what the OP uses his phone for, but smartphones were originally invented for other uses.

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Anonymous Coward

No manners

Greg J Preece sounds like the sort of pig-ignorant person that this article is featuring. Obviously never been brought up to have some kind of good manners and quite obviously unable to interact and give other people undivided attention. I used to be in the electronics retail business and if someone came into the shop jabbering on a phone, we would just ignore him/her until such time as the person concerned realised that they were just being plain rude. Mobile phones have got a lot to answer for. There is hardly anything that is THAT important that it can't wait until a more convenient time. If I go out socialising, my phone gets switched off and stays in the car. It's high time that restaurants and the like banned customers for using them and disturbing other folk who just want a quiet meal. Likewise the stupid habit of photographing food and sending the results to all and sundry. Crackpots I call them.

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