Do You Use Your Mobile Phone In Meetings?

Do You Use Your Mobile Phone In Meetings?

In theory, you should be paying full attention in office meetings. In reality, it’s often tempting to pull out your phone and check your emails and texts. Do you succumb?

Meetings picture from Shutterstock

A recent study in the US suggests that men are more tolerant of mobile phone usage in meetings than women. There’s also a clear age pattern: the younger you are, the more likely you are to think that even answering a call during a meeting is acceptable.

Where do you sit on that scale?

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Let us know where you think the line should be drawn in the comments.


  • Gen Y here, so I’m apparently more prone to do it.
    I don’t however, because it’s considered rude and draws unnecessary attention to your boredom.

    If it’s a boring meeting, it’s much better to fly under the radar.

  • i am ‘younger’ and no, unless i am expecting an extremely important call and then i prewarn other members (or organiser if its a larger group) in case it happens.

    In a small meeting you are crazy and its outright rude.

    In a larger meeting you are probably helping the lack of energy and focus of the meeting and there is a high chance you will be noticed.

  • Not unless its in the interest or all parties. ie, to get someone input on something thats being discussed, or to look up the answer to a query.
    I have thrown people out of meeting in the past for being on phones

  • I only check it if I have stated to the person running the meeting that I may need to keep an eye on it or head out if I get a call.

  • As a Gen Y’er but also a Manager, I make the attendees aware if I am expecting an important call or email and I expect the same of those in my meetings. It annoys me greatly if people are pulling out their phones in a meeting, because it generally just means they aren’t bothering to input what they should or don’t think the important information is important enough for them. Then again, I always try and make sure only those who need to be at a meeting are there.

    Funnily enough the Gen X’ers are often just as bad as the Gen Y’ers in my experience, though the younger they are the more blatant they seem to be.

  • I have the same policy for meetings as I had for tutoring students: if there is a particular important call you’re expecting, then let the person running the meeting know. Otherwise, don’t check it.
    If it is a long meeting, then we will generally take brief breaks in which people can check that they haven’t had 15 calls from their spouse because of some emergency.

    So no, I don’t check my phone in meetings, and am happy to invite people who do to leave the meeting.

  • I don’t for the first 30 minutes of a meeting, or the first hour of a lecture. The time resets if there is a break at either of those points, but after that, I think you’ve started to reach the limit of effective, continued concentration, anyway – when people’s attention wanders after this point, the phone is a mechanism for distraction, not the cause.

  • depends on the meeting – weekly internal strategy meetings each week I get away with it okay but if it was a client meeting it would never work. Admittedly the phone is only checked to see other work emails though I’ve seen others check their fb’s etc

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