• Karen

Gift it; Resolve it; Do it. Put down your phone!

Updated: Apr 12

Famous authors and small-town preachers have been telling us for years that listening to someone with total attention is a priceless gift. Maybe your undivided attention is the gift you’ll be giving friends and relatives during the holidays…maybe you’ll keep this up when the season is over. In particular consider putting down your phone. The smartphone – it’s the place where old-fashioned manners, competitive business advantage, and the science of addiction intersect.

Relatively speaking, we haven’t had smartphones all that long. IBM introduced a smartphone, the Simon, in the early 1990’s, but it wasn’t until the iPhone 15 years later that the technology seemed to swallow society whole. Now we are awash in devices that make it so we can be constantly entertained, continuously connected, and spontaneously record events around us. Oh, and make phone calls.

As the winter holiday season is now in full bloom, I encourage you to gift your friends and loved ones with your attention – don’t bring your phone to the holiday table or party (or at least keep it in your pocket). Regain control over your own attention as well. Resolve for the New Year to have some phone-free meetings or social gatherings.

When I’m teaching business classes, I remind attendees that being the person in the room who isn’t face down in a screen can make you stand out, and provide a career boost. In the personal realm, remember that whether you mean to or not checking your phone mid-conversation tells the person you’re with that whatever’s blinking in that screen is more valuable to you than they are. Is this really what you meant to say?

Happy holidays, and I wish you a joyous 2020.

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