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Don’t Be a Target—Put Your Cell Phone Away

TargetTechnology tunnel-vision can threaten your career—and your life.

Technology can save us time. It can save us money, and in some situations, it can even save lives. But when we focus more on our gadgets than the people around us, technology can endanger not only our sales careers, but also our lives.

A Dangerous Distraction

For example, check out this excerpt from a recent front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle, entitled “Absorbed device users oblivious to danger”:  

A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol.

He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away—but none reacts.

Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don’t lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.

Apparently, the student wasn’t a specific target. The gunman just wanted to shoot “someone.” Could another passenger have stopped the shooting? Very possibly—if someone had looked around, noticed the drawn gun, and used his or her cell phone to send an emergency message to police.

A Dangerous Disconnection

As upsetting as this account is, we see technology abuse play out time and time again. Everyone’s on their smartphones all the time—at meals, in airports, in line, at home, even in bed. What happened to actually connecting with people, enjoying conversations, looking someone in the eye, exchanging ideas, or even flirting?

The article continues:

When you used to go into a public place, you assumed everyone was in that place with you,” said Jack Nasar, an Ohio State University professor in city and regional planning who specializes in environmental psychology. “What happens to public places when everybody is talking on a cell phone? Everyone is somewhere else.”

Come back from wherever you went. Talk to your friends and family—you know, the people who are really important in your life. Talk to your clients, your prospects, your colleagues, and your referral network. Very little online is so important it can’t wait. Prioritize the people around you over whatever you’re reading on your phone. You might just discover a new world of opportunities to deepen relationships that benefit both your personal life and your career.

For more on how to close deals by striking the right balance between technology and relationships, get your copy of my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal­ – now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

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How much time do you spend staring at screens versus connecting with people? Is it a balance that you feel good about?

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