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These Mobile Devices Will Threaten Your Business Meetings in 2016

These Mobile Devices Will Threaten Your Business Meetings in 2016

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, December 28 6:00

Mobile devices may have freed us up to work on the go, but they ve created a huge distraction in the workplace. Coworkers can barely have a five-minute conversation without someone pulling out a phone to check an incoming text or email. All of this has led to frustration as professionals try to conduct face-to-face business. This is especially true of business meetings, where groups of people gather together with their mobile devices. Here are three major distractions you ll see in your meetings in 2016.


Perhaps the biggest threat to business meetings in 2016 will be smartwatches. Thanks to the popularity of the Apple Watch and Pebble s line of watches, distractions are moving from the smartphone screen to the wrist. Employees can now read incoming texts and emails as discreetly as they once would have checked the time, which is bad news for business meetings.

Should you ban smartwatches in meetings? Not necessarily. The very design of these devices is meant to allow people to glance at incoming messages and catch any emergencies that come through. However, smartwatches can lead to rude behavior, so it s important to have a talk with your workers about the importance of avoiding checking it while in meetings and speaking to others, especially if those others are clients.

Smart Glasses

With smart glasses, a person can engage with incoming messages without others even realizing it. The good news is, Google Glass never quite took off. The bad news is that competitors are coming forward with smart glass options that offer the same features Google Glass promised. These glasses come equipped with a device that fits over the right eye, serving as a telltale sign someone is wearing a pair of smartglasses.

Due to safety concerns, many establishments have discussed banning the use of Google Glass, including movie theaters, museums, public schools, and some restaurants. While smartglasses haven t yet become mainstream enough for those bans to move forward, they demonstrate that when there are concerns, there is nothing wrong with asking someone to remove those glasses. Since these devices can record, employers could easily ask employees not to use them on the premises.


Smartphones will continue to be a problem in workplaces across the country. It can be difficult to get through a meeting without someone checking a buzzing phone at some point during the proceedings. One of the best ways to encourage proper smartphone use is to set a good example yourself, especially if you re leading a team of workers. Don t check your smartphone while talking to your employees about business. If you get a notification while in a casual conversation, excuse yourself and leave.

To maximize attention during your meetings, state rules up front that everyone should silence their cell phones. If you feel your employees need to be available to their clients, stipulate that if they need to use their phones, they should excuse themselves and do so outside the meeting room. This could cut down on those who spend the meeting staring at their screens instead of participating.

Mobile devices have been both a blessing and a curse to businesses. While employers can t legislate manners, they can set ground rules for device use during meetings. They can also set a good example that face-to-face conversations deserve a person s full attention, even if a mobile device rings or buzzes during those conversations.

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