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Commentary: The Business

Cliff Yankovich: Show Some Respect, Holster Your Phone



What’s happened to us that we can’t go more than a few minutes without checking Facebook?

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of INSTORE.

Enough with the phones already. I am appalled, alarmed, and even aghast at the number of adult businessmen and businesswomen who cannot separate themselves from their mobile keyboards — even during meetings.


The event that first got my attention in this regard happened when I was flown to Washington, DC, in 2014 as a guest of the Alliance for Main Street. They brought retailers from all over the country to lobby Congress about taxing sales on the Internet.

The AMS paid for us to fly in, put us up at a nice hotel and fed us an excellent dinner and breakfast. After the breakfast, they met with us before we went out to lobby our members of Congress. They wanted to impart 15 or 20 minutes of training on how to be more effective when we spoke to our elected officials and their staff.

I looked around the room and over half of the 70 or so people were busy tapping away on their phones during the whole meeting. Come on! These people paid for us to be here! Pay attention to their message — or just pretend to pay attention — out of respect.

I recently attended a Lunch and Learn put on by our Chamber of Commerce. A woman from the governor’s office was in town to talk to us about the future of energy in Michigan. The lady, Valerie Brader, is no slouch. Here is an excerpt from her official CV: “Brader received her B.A. magna cum laude in government from Harvard and Radcliffe colleges, has two masters degrees from the University of Oxford and a J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown Law Center.”

We do not get a lot of folks with multiple cum laude degrees at our meetings, never mind that she is from the governor’s office.

&#8220“There is no way that 20 or more people out of a group of 60 had fires to put out in less than half an hour.”


Anyway, after a delicious lunch Brader spoke for 20 minutes or so. Again, many of the people in the room had more important things happening on their phones.

Look, I know that real issues can arise that must be dealt with. But there is no way that 20 or more people out of a group of 60 had fires to put out in less than half an hour.

Show some respect. The person addressing the meeting put effort into preparing what he or she had to say. Get outside of yourself and imagine it were you at the podium. Would you want to look out and see half of your audience updating their Facebook status?

Show more respect for the men and women who are taking the time and making the effort to make a presentation. Imagine yourself in their shoes and put the Golden Rule into action.

Cliff Yankovich is the owner of Chimera Design in Lowell, MI..




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