by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
I woke up this morning. I guess that was a good thing? I got to work and discovered that I forgot my cell phone at home.
As a commuter I was unarmed with video “gotcha” technology.
More importantly, I was not distracted by incessant texts.
I was able to turn on the car radio and listen to real people — speaking — on the air — to me.
Usually, when I get to work my older friends ask me how I am doing.
Telling them anything other than the truth is betrayal.
So, the confession they hear is, “I got up. So, now I’ve got something to complain about.”
And we laugh.
My younger friends ask me, “How is it going?” Telling them anything other than “It’s all good” is TMI (too much information).
Neither group notices I am off the grid this day.
Has this happened to you?
I see so many younger employees propping cell phones against their ears. The older ones are cradling mugs of coffee near their chins. I was carrying myself — down the hallways, listening to my steps on the floor. I took notice of my gait/ stride. I realized that I held my head up high. I discovered my breathing was rhythmic. It refreshed my demeanor.
The day progressed. I found a corporate pad/ tablet to text our VIP customers. They were neither upset nor surprised about my “device” variety. Lunchtime came and some of my buddies were stoked about chicken fried steak and vegan burgers at the company café. It was there that I observed too many answering their cells in the middle of conversations with me. (Do I do that?) Some reported on events to the group while texting.
I made eye contact with all of them. Some of my friends have green eyes. Others are losing their hair. One woman was so nicely dressed, it seemed she walked right out of a store catalog. I noticed; I did that.
Did any of them notice things about me?
I listened to the car and to the traffic on the way home. I rolled down the windows (okay, so they are electric).
I heard the wind. It was not interrupting my voice.
The radio deejay played a song and I sang along. I tried to “shazam it” . . . then remembered my new found freedom.
Now that would have distracted me. There was already a wreck up ahead.
When I got home I found that stinking cell phone and turned it on.
Then, I turned it off.
I listened and heard the A/C finally come on. I like the sound of my home. My family asked me “How was work?” I had to admit that I was a bit more focused than I had been in months. I will turn on my phone when I wake up tomorrow.
I have a list here of all the things I WAS ABLE TO DO because I had no cell phone with me:
- Make eye contact
- Smile with my face – MY OWN brand of emoji
- Smile with my voice
- Ask meaningful questions
- I was “roaming” the halls to find my boss – no extra charges for me
- Focus on the people around me
- NOT swipe left, right, up or down – I looked up!
- I had “unrestricted minutes” to communicate – ALL DAY
- Good coverage meant wearing a nice jacket
- Prioritize each customer’s needs while undisturbed at my desk
- Discovered that “pre-paid” means “encumbered” to the Accounting Department.
- Drive more safely
- Listen to the radio
- Breathe without un-do pressures
- Be impressed by the “Data Plan” that Marketing rolled out to track sales
- Taste the food I was eating
- Slow down my pace while driving
- Slow down my pace while communicating
- Hug my family and listen only for their voices
- Concentrate on my assignments without an interrupting ringtone
- Take notice of myself and my health
- Call customers on a landline and exercise my short-term memory by dialing* a phone number
All of these actions can affect your personal brand. Some of us cannot survive in business without a cell. Most of us cannot survive in business if we do not fully engage our customers. Some of which require face-to-face contact or in-depth Q&A time. If we “accidentally” turn off our cell phones for just an hour each day, maybe we can enjoy these benefits more often.
I hope your list has more.
P.S. I noticed just how loud people are when they speak “at” a cell.
And their ringtones and alert pings are just as annoying.
Gotta check myself on those right away . . .
And what is a “clean” cell phone, anyway?
* Dial — (verb) — to reach or connect to another by using a telephone dial;
touching numbers on the face of a telephone to make verbal contact with another person or company;
to press an alpha-numeric button and engage a coded sequence to cause another apparatus to respond with a ringing sound.
Copyright © 1960-2018 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.