Thursday, 21 December 2006

Blackberry Etiquette 101

There seems to be a lot of kurfuffle these days about people using their blackberries in meetings and whether or not this constitutes proper etiquette.

I think our American friends can learn a lot from the North since we have had the blackberry etiquette issue for a long time now. Let me tell you about the first time I encountered it. And, it wasn't pretty.

I worked on the Rogers Communications account here in Toronto. The first time I was giving a presentation to the Wireless clients, I got a rather strange surprise. There were about 20 of them in the room and every one of them had a blackberry. Now this was at the time where blackberries were not common and if people did have them, it was usually the Senior mucky mucks. But at Rogers, EVERYONE had one. And from the second I started the presentation, their thumbs were manically moving to the point where I was almost dizzy at the watching of it while trying to be engaging and sell them a communications plan. But you couldn't help but find the humour in it. They didn't think they were being rude, they just had a problem.

They were crackberry addicts. And I don't mean just run of the mill gotta glance down and politely type on those babies. I mean completely extension of their arm, kinda like breathing, gotta get more and shoot themselves up 100% obsessed.

Thumbs were flying, blackberries were buzzin’ and every once in a while someone would loudly gafa. There was clearly more than one conversation going on at the time, and as their Agency planner person I had two choices: 1. Get all pissed off, or 2. just go with the flow. Well, I am much more the flow goer so I thought; if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. And with that attitude, they hooked me up and I shot myself up with a new blackberry and haven’t looked back ever since.

Now can I say that I don’t get annoyed from time to time when I am presenting and someone is multi-tasking rather than listening to me? Sure I am human. But I just figure, I better try being more compelling and start to talk to that person directly.

But if your the kind that really really can't stand it, try this and see if it helps. Before you start the meeting, dig into your purse (or briefcase) and say, “Oops, forgot to turn off my blackberry. I would hate to be so rude as to have it go off while I am in the meeting with you.” That usually gets the mild addict to turn his/her off.

But what about the serious addict? I am afraid you can’t help them and you certainly can't blame them. You should feel sorry for them.

Oh and if that doesn’t work to get your ire down, while you are presenting just imagine them naked.

update: blackberry orphans and how to kick the habit


Mark said...

How about this. Since the person (people) aren't paying attention to you anyway, simply segue into "But to properly illustrate that last point, let me do a small demonstration. May I borrow someone's Blackberry for a moment? [Walk over to the offender. Take the Blackberry from his hands] Thank you, George. Take it up to the front of the room and set it down in front of you. Continue with your presentation.

Alternative 2: Obtain the email addresses of the attendees. Send a mass email saying, "Hey rude people. I'm up at the front of the room."

Personally, I would just walk out, saying, "please call me when you've got the time and interest to hear what I have to say."

Real Time Web Analytics