Meet the quintessential Blackberry Guy. A big firm partner, he invited me to lunch to compare notes on our businesses. As we walked to lunch (10 minutes) he checked his Blackberry—twice. As we were being seated, he checked it again. Finally, he put it in a pocket and there it stayed while he talked about his work and his practice. He responded to my questions and we dug a bit deeper. He engaged.
Eventually, the talk turned to my work. It didn’t take long for the Blackberry to reappear. Not once, not twice. I lost count of how often he looked down at it. The message it sent to me was that talking about him was important enough to leave the Blackberry stowed. Listening to me? Not so much. The irony is that his practice requires a high level of client intimacy to be fully effective as an advisor.
Right now, I’m not inclined to refer anyone to Blackberry Guy. I know others in his specialty—just as smart and capable—who exhibit far more interest in those around them. What could Blackberry Guy do differently to earn my respect?
Focus completely on who you’re with. We underestimate the power of our full, undivided attention, especially in a world with so many distractions.
Explain extenuating circumstances—they do happen. If you are waiting for deal or life-altering news, say so. Ask for permission to check your incoming. Most everyone says yes and your candor may actually build a stronger relationship.
Put your Blackberry where it can’t distract you. Shut it off before putting it in your pocket. Vibrate mode will grab your attention every time (Ladies, turn the sound off and throw it in your purse. Better still, shut it off).
Should I give him a 2nd chance? Maybe. But will a potential client? I doubt it…..