"…it's customary now for professionals to lay BlackBerrys or iPhones on a conference table before a meeting—like gunfighters placing their Colt revolvers on the card tables in a saloon. 'It's a not-so-subtle way of signaling 'I'm connected. I'm busy. I'm important. And if this meeting doesn't hold my interest, I've got 10 other things I can do instead.''"
Do you have a computer that is always connected to the internet virtually anywhere, that is very close to a desktop replacement, that you can hold in your hand? How we communicate, how we do business is changing… yet again.
Nothing used to stand out more at a business meeting than a laptop on a conference table open and ready, its owner typing and clicking away. Not only was this a bit distracting, but you couldn't be sure if they were taking notes, returning an email, or playing solitaire.
With the coming of age of computers that are also mobile phones, not much has changed; it just got less noticeable. But this isn't a bad thing. Customers expect to be able to contact whoever, whenever. Fortunes can be won or lost on the timing of an email reply. And the speed of business these days makes it difficult to tuck-and-roll if you fall off.
And the possibilities! Be on that conference call, but at the same time check the quarterly numbers, look up clients, browse their websites, view the latest TPS report, email action items, text the person running late, and twitter updates on your company's private account.
And while you're doing all of that, make sure to flip back to the internet browser to see if anyone has indicated they have a question on the live-updating teleconference screen… because you are also running the call.