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neil sedakaAt the time Neil Sedaka sang about breaking up, it was the hardest thing to do. But not anymore.

Today, the hardest thing to do is not check your Smartphone/email/textmessage/social media every five minutes. Or less.

I start each class with a request my students put away their phones and close their laptops. In each session, there is inevitably someone who tries to hide that he/she is using. Typical of junkies, right? They think they’re being sly or pulling the wool over my eyes. But I’ve been around this block a few times and those tricks aren’t new anymore. Heck, I’m even guilty of sneaking a peek in meetings when the information doesn’t apply to me or I think I’ve heard it before.

Then there are the people who don’t even try to hide it. You’ve probably seen it as well – a blatant and continual checking of phones, tablets and computers in conferences and meetings rooms across the world. Presenters no longer only have the challenge of room, AV and sound distractions, but now they compete with email, Candy Crush and every other available app.

Why is the information received from someone who isn’t there more interesting than the people in the room?

This technology has only been around for a relatively short time, but with the swipe of a finger, we’ve trained ourselves very well. It’s a continual and non-stop check of all information sources.

Ding! The text message indicator sounds and there is a scramble to see who is the sender.

pavlovdog1Pavlov would be proud.  Or would he?