Hang Up and Hang Out

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Published on November 16, 2017, at 12:56 p.m.
by Hyland Stockton.

Meeting begins. Cue laptops and cell phones.

Five minutes in, you realize you have no idea what has been said, but at least you look busy, right?

Well, maybe not.

While technology offers many benefits, it also hinders true interaction and keeps people from being genuinely present in meetings and other similar situations, like class.

via Adrianna Calvo on Pexels

Yes, people often use the excuse “but I’m a good multitasker” — when in reality, it may not be as true as they like to believe.

People are reachable 24/7 with today’s technology. While it may be beneficial for PR professionals to have such constant connection, it is important to think about the repercussions. We lose personal connection when we rely too much on technology. With the ease of an instant reply, we can miss out on valuable responses because we don’t take the time to think them through.

The proof
As a millennial, I often want to argue with this fact, but last year I realized how true it was during CreateAthon, a 24-hour, pro-bono marketing campaign. With very few distractions from the outside, we were able to present our clients with lots of quality communication work. This was when I grasped the importance of face-to-face communication and collaboration.

via Link Humans on Flickr

While working, the core leadership sat down and discussed this creative atmosphere. Our leader, Katie Gatti, started by talking about the first time she realized the value of being fully present when she was talking to a seasoned, highly demanded executive. He never reached for his phone or took his attention from the conversation. If a person with his power and responsibility can be this present, why can’t we?

The conclusion
People are so concerned with being reachable 24/7. It is almost considered rude when you don’t respond immediately. But, is it? Or, is it worse to respond immediately while you should be paying attention to something else?

Whether in a meeting or even responding to emails, be present. An hour-long meeting with people interacting and collaborating has the potential to be more productive than a three-hour meeting with one person talking at people. In addition, a thoughtful response leads to less room for mistakes and miscommunication. Not only will this approach allow for more things to get accomplished; it is simple etiquette.


  1. Christina Guyton

    This post resonated with me as I have spent this year specifically trying to monitor my devise time. I have noticed that I get extremely distracted by my phone and it effects my productivity and focus. This environment that CreateAthon induced forced people to eliminate distractions, and proved to ameliorate efficiency. I used to feel the need to be accessible 24/7 in our connected world, but I have noticed that if someone truly needs me they can call or force the issue. I have decreased my stress overall by not worrying about answering constantly. This blog post confirmed my ideas and inspired me to continue to be cognizant of my devise time.


  2. Kelly Vinarsky

    As a student, I completely agree with this blog. In today’s society it is so easy to be distracted by the use of technology. From my experience, classes that allow students to even use laptop make it difficult to concentrate on what is going on in class. It is difficult, however to stray away from the use of technology since it is becoming so prominent in the world today. In a professional setting, it is important to limit use of technology and focus more on face-to-face interaction.


  3. Darcy Smith

    This is a great perspective on the way people utilize their technology. Although there are many great features, technology most definitely takes a toll on people’s quality of their face-to-face communication skills. I think that everyone is capable of having the power to be present but that its a matter of how much interest they have at the subject at hand if they truly will hang up and set their technology distractions aside. I agree that if people learn to do so, they will be a lot better off in the long run.


  4. Brittany Portee

    I thought this was a great article on a topic that needs to be discussed more! Studies have shown that technology is a distraction in the work place and classroom yet our world is quite literally centered around it. Not only does technology pose as a distraction but it also hinders people’s communication skills. This poses a big threat to individuals in any type of communications position as the interpersonal communication skills are being factored out of the workforce due to the growth of technology.


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