by Maryann Ridini Spencer in VC Style
Have you ever been out to dinner and had your friend, family member or partner answer their cell phone and talk for a few minutes, leaving you out of the conversation? Maybe you’ve been involved in a heart-to-heart and just at the moment you were going to divulge the most important detail, you were told to “hold that thought” while your loved one answered their cell phone? What about sharing an important conversation with a friend and they tell you that they just got a call waiting notification - can they call you right back? Or maybe you’re spending the weekend doing a family activity and have found that your hands seem to be mysteriously glued to your ipad or computer key board, much to the chagrin of your mate?
Without the risk of being too crass, sometimes technology bites. If you’ve ever been in one of the above situations, you have experienced, first hand, the frustration of being upstaged by modern technology, and as my old boss jokingly used to tell his victims, “by a bigger name.”
Connecting with the people in our lives – our friends, family and special someone - is vital to our health and wellbeing. Being kind and generous with our undivided attention can go a long way. Connecting on a face-to-face, technology-free, personal basis is paramount. Especially in this fast-paced, stressful era of job downsizing, mergers & acquisitions and where digital technology (aka computers, cell phones, ipads, droid tablets etc.) rule, it can be easy to alienate the ones you love by constantly living in the TMT. (Too Much Technology) Zone.
How can you demonstrate your love and be relatively TMT FREE?
Here are some great simple ways:
*Turn off your cell phone BEFORE you get to the dining table.
*Enjoy a Sunday meal with the entire family – create time together to talk and interact MINUS the electronics.
*On a date or at a business meeting? Power your phone OFF. You can pick up your messages later. You might also select your “alternate” greeting, letting folks know you are in a meeting and will call back later.
*Let your weekends or vacation truly be “time off.” Use your email “vacation message” or select your alternate voice mail message to tell clients, friends and associates you’ll call on Monday or when you return from your vacation. If you find that you have to be available to respond (or die), try to limit it to a specific amount of time at a specific time of day that won’t interfere with your dedicated activities.
Some great examples of how to use technology:
*Be free with tender thoughts and “I love you’s” – you’ve heard the Stevie Wonder song, “I Just Called To Say I Love You” ? Well, then go for it. Just don’t text or send images of anything you don’t want appearing on the front page of the Sunday papers (you never know with technology!) .
*Remember the words “Thank you” and always give thanks.
*To share an important link, thought, plan or idea that you can discuss and communicate on a personal level at a later time when both parties are available. Don’t replace personal, one-on-one conversation or connection by the exclusive use of technology.
Talk to those in your life about how you prefer technology to be used and some of your do’s and don’ts. Set the standards immediately.
Connecting on a personal level and nurturing your important relationships by being TMT Free, or at least controlling your impulses to reach for the iphone or tablet, can have extremely pleasing results. Enjoying the warmth of loving, appreciative and ATTENTIVE arms around you can warm up the day or night and fill the heart more than any chat on Facebook or Twitter.