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The Covert Time Check

Checking your phone or watch during a meeting is rude. But what if you have to check the time to stay on schedule? Use Modern Manners Guy's covert time check trick. 

By
Richie Frieman,
January 15, 2014

Have you ever dined or were at a meeting with someone and they kept checking their watch or phone repeatedly? It's distracting, right?

Even if the person watching the clock isn’t doing it to be rude, it can often come across as exactly that. When you move your body or eyes to glance at the time, it automatically appears as if you’re wondering how much time you have left before you get to skip out. 

I understand that you don't intend it as "I'd rather be somewhere else." I mean, you have to check the time so you’re not late for whatever you have next.  After all, as we've discussed many times before, being late is the epic fail of etiquette. However, intentional or not, looking at your watch/phone sends a negative signal.

So to avoid this, I have an easy and clever tip to keep you on track, without having to check the time and appear to be rude.

The Cell Phone Trick

Before I tell you this tip/trick, let’s all remind ourselves that phones do not belong on the table while you're eating or meeting. It’s not a utensil or a menu or a notebook (unless it's an iPad), so ditch it. Additionally, you should always silence your phone or turn it to vibrate. After all, aren't you supposed to be paying attention to the person in front of you? 

To make sure you don’t distract the meeting with constant time-checks, but still stay on schedule, follow this tip: Prior to the meeting, set two alerts on your phone - one for 15 minutes before you need to leave and the other for 5 minutes before. Then set the phone to vibrate and put it in your pants or jacket pocket where you can feel the buzz.  

This way, when you feel the first buzz, that’s your cue that you need to wrap things up. Begin to nail down whatever issues you need to accomplish, Or if you have a story that you need to share, speed it up. You never want to have to cut someone off or skip over details of what you have planned because you ran of out time. That's poor planning.

Then comes the second buzz, 10 minutes later, which is your reminder that only 5 minutes remain. This is your queue to end things on a positive note.

By using this technique, you give your meeting partner your undivided – and uninterrupted – attention, but still manage to stay on top of your schedule.  Ta daaa!

Get-It-Done Guy would be proud.

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