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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BlackBerry addicts at my table


Recently at a business lunch, I looked around my table and noticed everyone on their BlackBerries. I wondered out loud whether my companions were missing out on the moment, an opportunity to bond with the people around them and focus on what the speaker had to say.
One of my lunch companions called it a necessary tradeoff. "Checking it during lunch and clearing the e-mail I can respond to quickly saves me staying later at work," says Raquel Alderman, marketing director of The Miami Herald.
Yet, Raquel also said she recently found it shocking when another manager called a meeting, and then reviewed e-mails on his BlackBerry while others were talking. "Watching him, I saw myself and it does come across as rude."
In our 24/7 world all messages are deemed critical, but the reality is most are not. Most e-mails can wait at least an hour. As my editor, Lisa, suggests, maybe it's not about being addicted to BlackBerries but more about our need to multi-task. Try putting your BlackBerry out of sight at your next business meeting or lunch. It just might be good for your focus, and your career.

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