Why can’t I be on my phone during meetings?

Business etiquette isn’t just a simple list of rules and regulations – it’s the way in which employees are expected to behave in the workplace, the right things to say and do to create a healthy office environment.

With the digital generation all set to enter the workforce, employers are in for a surprise: Millennials have little to no etiquette education and are at a loss on how to behave.

Now let’s consider why millennials lack knowledge on appropriate etiquette: first of all, they spend so much time on their phones and other devices that they have no idea on how to behave during in-person business situations. Simple courtesies such as maintaining proper eye contact while talking and not receiving phones during meetings are given knowledge by employers – but to a millennial, these are foreign things that have to be taught.

As well as their lack of experience, there’s also the ever-rising popularity of Facebook and Snapchat. This generation devotes so much of their time texting in shortcuts, slang, and emojis; they forget how to talk in interviews or a face-to-face conversation appropriately. Despite having an impressive online presence, to millennials, the rules of real-life etiquette are becoming increasingly blurred.

No wonder employers are going through a severe culture shock – when their 22-year-old employee starts sending text messages during his interview, things are bound to get a little awkward!

Etiquette isn’t just essential in the workplace: business luncheons, dinners, formal parties, there’s unspoken code and manners practically everywhere. It’s hard to emphasize enough how many simple behaviors such as greeting the host with a firm handshake before the meal, saying please and thank you, and not talking with your mouth full can help set up a good impression in front of others.

The importance of having good etiquette in an employee is limitless.

Here are some of the benefits that a well-mannered working millennial can reap:

1. Enhances impression: Observing the right etiquette can make you seem more confident and at ease both in and out of the workplace. To employers impressions matter a lot; out of the many applicants, they receive for each open position, they can only pick one. If you don’t know the correct way to shake someone’s hand or give your business card, people will question your business skills, and you’ll be considered incapable of the job.

2. Builds strong relationships: Professional etiquette builds solid relationships between management, staff, and clients because it signifies honesty and openness. People like others who exhibit good manners and this generates goodwill between employees, employers, and customers alike.

3. Gains favor: Imagine that both you and your best friend are applying for the same job position. Both of you possess the same qualifications and academic ability required for the job. The manager then decides to ask you both to a business lunch at an elegant restaurant – who will get the job? Yes, you’ve guessed it: the smarter person with better dining etiquette.


These are just a few of the many benefits gained by displaying proper manners and presentation. It’s essential that millennials are given a thorough etiquette education, before entering the workforce. No matter how social, tech-friendly or confident a millennial employee may be, he can only gain success in his career by displaying the right attitude and maintaining flawless business etiquette.

1 Comment on “Why can’t I be on my phone during meetings?

  1. My partner and I talk about this a lot. We talk about how a lot of networking and genuine connection is missed before and after work meetings, etc simply because everyone is on their phone. Such a bad habit :(.

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