We have all done it. The VP of some department of other is rabbiting on about the metrics and showing Venn diagrams on a Powerpoint presentation and you find yourself reaching for your BlackBerry. C’mon, no one will notice. Just a quick peek, it’s a better use of your time right. And if you don't do something you are going to fall asleep.
Well don’t do it. It might cost you some respect and may even cost you that promotion you’ve been banking on.
You might think you are being productive and might even feel like you look important, but it’s a good bet your coworkers think you are being a pretentious idiot. And you boss might not think so highly of you either. While it is becoming ubiquitous, taking BlackBerry calls or reviewing an e-mail while you boss is talking is a definite no-no.
According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, Robert Half Management Resources a specialized staffing firm recently polled 150 senior executives about their opinions on using BlackBerrys in meetings. Eighty-six percent said people they work with often check and respond to e-mail during meetings, and 31 percent said that the practice is "never OK."
The general rule of thumb is that if you have to take an important call or respond to a message the proper etiquette is excuse yourself from the meeting and take the call outside. It is usually a good idea to let the person speaking or running the meeting know ahead of time that you may have to respond to call during the meeting and apologize beforehand.
According the survey above 23 percent of senior executives said it's OK to briefly leave the meeting to respond to a pressing communiqué.
As with many things a little perspective is needed. In our 24/7 world all messages are deemed critical, but the reality is most are not. Most e-mails can wait and turning that BlackBerry off during meetings or at least putting out of sight might be good for your nerves and your career.