Just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean you have to look at it. But the bright, flashing light and pleasant little chirp are so inviting. If you have a BlackBerry, you know the obsession. While it may be compelling, not every situation is conducive to a BlackBerry check-in. Know when to have it out, and when to put it away. Even though some of these etiquette rules may seem obvious, they are worth mentioning because some people just don’t get it – you know who you are!
What’s Appropriate at Work
BlackBerrys make great tools for the workplace. You can easily communicate with clients, colleagues and your boss from anywhere. You can read emails, look up stats, send texts, review documents and much more. You can even look at them in meetings. This is great if the information you are downloading and browsing is relevant. If not, you risk missing something in the meeting or offending the presenter and those around you. Avoid taking calls, emails, texts and other distractions, unless they are emergencies. In that case, take the BlackBerry outside to take the call, or email, there. If you use it in the meeting, make sure others know that it pertains to the conversation. You may want to say something like, "Oh I just read here that Bob got the presentation." Actually use it for work while you are in the meeting, and you will look prepared and engaged, rather than distracted.
Give Your Friends the Attention They Deserve
Don’t forget about how you are perceived outside the workplace as well. Just a casual coffee or lunch with a friend should be treated with the same importance. Put your BlackBerry away once your friend or associate arrives. Give him your full attention, during that 30 minutes or hour you are with him. If you are expecting a call, important email or other imperative communication, let your friend know ahead of time so he can expect the interruption. Get your time on the BlackBerry over with quickly and come back to the social setting.
Don’t Let Your BlackBerry Get in the Way
As much as you love and think you rely on that BlackBerry, sometimes you have to shut it off and put it away. Dates are an important time to do that. Whether it’s a first date or a millionth, that’s a special time between you and your partner, or potential partner. Give that person all your attention. Let any potential communicators know that you will be busy at that time and turn it off. This is also important during family time or just the personal quiet time you need each day.