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Mobile Phones On or Off?


Mobile phones are very much a feature of our modern society and it would seem as if everyone has at least one. For many people, they are a valuable or even invaluable tool and sometimes switching your mobile phone off can appear almost traumatic.

On a few occasions, I have surprised delegates at training sessions by opening with the following statement;

"I do not mind if you switch your mobile phone off or leave it on but please, if you feel there is someone you know, maybe a friend or a work colleague, who has any experience, thoughts or insights into a topic we are discussing today, then please feel free to give them a call or to txt them. All I ask is that, if you do so, please share their contribution with the rest of the group."

My reason for saying this at the start of a session is not (just) to appear trendy but also because I believe the mobile phone to be a valuable learning tool. This may be true particularly for 'smartphones' but even a standard phone (can you still buy those?) withg just voice and txting capabilities can be used for learning purposes. I see them as a way of bringing outside resources, including other people and experiences, into a training session. All I ask is that anything which anyone gathers by this method, shares their findings with the rest of the group. Am I being unreasonable?

I accept that some phones can be annoying if they ring in the middle of a session and some 'ringtones' can be particularly annoying (mine plays Delibes' Flower Duet!). So I do ask people if they feel they may be rung a lot, to consider switching their phone to silent or vibrate (which is usually the setting of my own phone when training).

So, I'd like to ask what do other trainers do? Do you ask for all phones to be switched off? Has anyone else invited attendees to use their phones to find information?

One Response

  1. Mobile’s Off


    At the start of all my sessions I do ask that mobile phones are put on silent or off and 9 times out of 10 they stay out of sight, although ocassionally I do see people with their hands in their laps and looking down, which I hope means they are trying to send a sneaky text rather than anything else!

    With managers I ask if anyone is on call, that way I can then expect the odd disturbances during the day.

    I would love to have a box by the door and ask that all mobile phones be placed in there and then returned on breaks, however I don’t think this approach would be very popular!



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