Do you think it’s rude to text/email during a meeting?

Some say it’s multitasking. An article I read celebrated “the skill of following along in person while simultaneously [doing other stuff]” Alas, that skill simply doesn’t exist. Our brains are not wired to multitask, and splitting attention vastly decreases the quality of thought we bring to the individual activities.

Furthermore, even though you may not consider it rude, it can have very real negative effects for you. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely discusses this in his book The Upside of Irrationality. When someone took a quick cell phone call in the midst of an interaction, the person they were interacting with was quick to retaliate by not returning a cash overpayment. (He then showed that an explicit apology offset that effect. So perhaps texting then apologizing is fine behavior.)

If the text or email is relevant to the task at hand, perhaps we can adopt the same policy we did in elementary school: let the team leader see the notes being passed back and forth. Next time someone texts in a meeting, they have to show everyone the text sent and the response. Then the group can decide whether it’s worthwhile


Is texting in meetings rude?

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