Five Reasons You Should Use Your Phone During a Meeting

cell phone in meetingsIt happens all the time.

You’re giving a presentation or leading a meeting… There are 10 to 15 people present… Slowly people begin to sneak peeks at their cell phones. Some even boldly begin using their phones while you are presenting.

When leading a meeting, one of the first instructions the presenter may give to the audience is to “silence your cell phones.” If you’ve ever presented, you know this is because it’s very difficult to maintain momentum and engagement when the audience is preoccupied with their cell phones.

According to Statistic Brain, 74 percent of people are terrified of giving a public speech, which makes it quite rude to be on your phone when someone is presenting. In many cases, we need to “be all there” in a meeting and turn off distractions, but… technology is changing the way we communicate and there are actually times when you should use your phone during a meeting or presentation.

1. Promote the meeting, the presenter, and the content across social channels.

As companies look for ways to engage their staff with the business marketing channels, promoting meetings is a viable way to demonstrate the company culture and business expertise. Begin the meeting by asking everyone to send a tweet or schedule a post about the meeting. Got a new product launch in the works? Build excitement by touting the product launch planning meetings. Changing something big at your business? Give fans and followers a sneak peek through meeting social media posts.

2. Engage meeting attendees before the event and make announcements.

In our world of 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to a smart phone.  Since nearly everyone is within reach of their phone, market where the people already are. Send mobile reminders and announcements in advance of the meeting or presentation.

3.  Broadcast the meeting to mobile users.

Not everyone can attend an in-person meeting. Boost engagement by providing a link to a live broadcast of the meeting. Consider hosting the meeting in-person, but also as a webinar with a moderator, so that virtual guests can ask questions too. Webinars can be recorded and will give everyone the opportunity to watch the meeting again later, if needed.

4.  Transmit important information immediately.

In advance of the meeting, gather the mobile numbers of those in attendance so that important information like speaker notes and other documents can be sent immediately by the moderator.

5. Schedule tasks, reminders, and follow-up assignments during the meeting.

If the meeting involves planning or will require actions from attendees, schedule the assignments during the meeting, while it’s top-of-mind.

Let’s get to the point. If during a meeting you are using your phone to check emails, text, and handle business not related to the meeting, it’s rude. You will miss out on important information and you will miss opportunities to contribute your expertise to the meeting topic, because your focus is elsewhere.  The meeting and the presenter deserve your undivided attention.  But, as people become more dependent on technology, there are ways to use it so that everyone benefits.

Now it’s your turn… what’s your thought on this touchy subject?


  • jolynndeal Yes, as you said, it depends on how you’re using it. I get very distracted if someone seems to be doing something on a phone that doesn’t have to do with a meeting. 
    These are good suggestions, however, for ways to use it constructively.

  • Word Ninja You are so right. It is and should be frowned upon. I’m not a proponent of phones during meetings, but did find these ways interesting during my research.  I’ve watched it have negative effects on many occasions. For example, I watched a CEO check email during a donor meeting. The donor looked over at me and was not happy.

  • Thanks, Jo Lynn. Always learn from your posts!
    Phone usage in meetings depends on your work culture, too. Most of my work is in higher ed, and perhaps it’s a holdover from being annoyed with students who are on their phones/computers in the classroom (and the majority are not taking notes!), but phone usage during meetings seems frowned upon.

    I’ve definitely shared information/pics via social media when a meeting is more of an event and something said by a speaker may be of interest to a wider audience than those in attendance.