IBJOpinion

FAENZI: We're more connected, but less engaged

Carol Faenzi
September 25, 2010
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

FaenziIt seems we have tossed out having manners in the workplace, whether we find ourselves in meetings, attending a lecture, making a call on a customer, or interviewing a potential employee.

I am appalled at the number of businesspeople who have their heads down, texting and checking their messages or the latest stock quotes while supposedly being engaged in any of the above situations.

My good friend G has been out on the interviewing circuit for a new job. He tells me of one interview that stood out, but was not unusual.

The interviewer was the general manager and G’s potential boss. During the two hours they met, the man checked his BlackBerry every minute or so and became disconnected from the conversation. G had to frequently guide the poor man back to the conversation. A two-hour meeting could have been conducted in one by switching the device off.

We really cannot do more than one thing at a time. But we continue to try to listen, read and text at the same time. The results are poor.

Let’s go to Italy.

I was engaged as a marketing consultant for a company that distributes a lighting line from Italy. The designer, “Aldo,” lives and works in the Veneto region. I traveled there, along with my U.S.-based clients, for a two-day meeting with Aldo and his team.

The scene: We are all seated around a conference table in Aldo’s upstairs studio: Aldo; his wife, Patrizia; his consultant, Enzo; and manager, Francesca. This happens after many hugs and greetings with the rest of the staff.

The atmosphere is casual, but professional, warm, efficient and orderly—yet there is laughter and courtesy. The morning passes quickly. We go to lunch at a local restaurant in the country. It is the season for radicchio and so there are many dishes with this red and bitter leaf.

We talk, doing our best with English and Italian flying back and forth. Patrizia explains in detail how she will make fugazza, the special cake of the region, for the upcoming Easter holiday.

Two hours pass and we return to work. As we get into the car, I say to my clients, “Interesting how we didn’t once talk about business.” We go back to the conference room and work until about 7. A similar series of events occurs the next day.

We spent about 14 hours together in that beautiful conference room and only once did anyone check or use their phones—when Enzo received an important call from his wife.

We had a full list of items to get through, not all of them easy to negotiate, but we accomplished everything. Everyone listened. No one was interrupted. Everyone was engaged because no one was trying to stay connected.

It was refreshing. It was civilized and elegant and, yes, efficient.

A couple of more stories from right here in the United States:

My good friend C is a senior vice president of a private Midwestern bank. He tells me it is a solid rule in his company that no one brings their phones or BlackBerrys into meetings—period.

Another business friend works for a publicly held international company in New York City. The CEO holds a worldwide conference call with key managers once a quarter. His rule: If anyone’s cell phone goes off during the call, that person has to buy lunch for everyone in his or her respective office.

If you just can’t help yourself, leave the phone in the car. Leave it at your desk. Turn it off, not just on vibrate. Listen to the speaker who has spent hours rehearsing his talk. Have the courtesy to make consistent eye contact with your interviewee, customer or co-worker.

Go have lunch and just do that—eat lunch for one hour. I promise you will not miss anything.•

__________

Faenzi is an author, public speaker and business consultant. She may be reached at cfaenzi@aol.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Not Just for Kids Anymore
    I have grown used to my two teenagers texting no matter where they are, or what they are doing. I've even tried to meet them "where they're at" and discovered sometimes I get a better response from them that way. However, I recently vacationed with a good friend and was amazed to discover she never put her cell phone down the whole time we were together. She texted through meals, the zoo, Graceland, Beale St., car rides - well you get the idea. The rudeness is out of control. I'm with you - let's go to Italy!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT