Being Present with Tech

When you are in a meeting, go for lunch with a colleague or friend, sitting on the couch after a long day, how are you engaging with the people around you? Moreover, if you are by yourself, how can you engage with others?

“People are craving human interaction. That’s going to move the needle more than any technology you could ever dream up”.  – Tina Sharkey, Cofounder & CEO,

Are you Present?

The unfortunate truth is that you are likely not fully present with the person (people) next to you. Technology has provided us with the ability to be in constant contact yet often we are waiting/hoping/planning for the next interaction whether this is in person or through a chirped tech item.  Though you may have the best intentions to be fully present you can’t seem to help yourself – you have to look at the chirp.  For many, technology is a powerful distraction to being present, and at worst, it is an addiction. Technology addiction is easily masked in the excuse of constant busyness, being responsive at all times, and the strong desire for instant gratification.

While it may seem innocuous to look at your phone when you are with friends or in a meeting, that action slowly leads to an eroded relationship. Research indicates that ‘tech,’ especially our ever-present smartphones, creates a crisis in communication and relationship development. It isn’t hard to believe: imagine you are presenting at a meeting or sharing your day with a friend and in the midst of your sentence the phone rings, the text bings, or an email arrives. Goodbye undivided attention. Now you’re waiting, coming in second to whoever is on the other end of the tech. The positive energy you had during your exchange is gone. Regardless of whether you laugh it off or not – your unconscious mind has already registered the slight.

Why am I sharing this? Because tech distraction impacts your corporate culture and your employees through lost trust and collaboration. If an employee cannot get ten minutes of undivided attention from their supervisor, how does the relationship develop? If you are sharing an idea during a project meeting and people are looking at their email, where is the sense of teamwork? What is the message the presenter gets about what people think of their idea?

Tech has dramatically changed our ability to communicate with one another.

It has removed body language and tone, both of which are critical communication elements in establishing authentic and sincere relationships.  Without a level of trust and connection – how effective are your employees when interacting with clients, each other, or collaborating on projects? If we don’t have healthy relationships our ability to help each other grow is negatively impacted.  How do we have productive feedback conversations if we don’t know each other?

Whether you agree that tech can be a distraction or an addiction – it is worth investigating how a lack of direct personal communication is impacting your organization.  If you aren’t sure where you stand when it comes to tech addiction, then challenge yourself to disconnect for an hour or a day.  Could be a twinge of panic went through you as you read the challenge.  For more information on tech and impacts on business and employees, please check out the following:

Positive technology – Designing work environments for digital well-being
How Technology Impacts Work Culture

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