Distracted Communication

dinner-textingThe main problem we all are hearing about and witnessing each day is on the roads and it is called ‘distracted driving’. The statistics are daunting.

Texting and Driving Statistics

Texting while driving is a growing trend, and a national epidemic, quickly becoming one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.

Texting While Driving Causes:

  1. 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
  2. 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
  3. 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts
  4. Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents

Texting While Driving Is:

  1. About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
  2. The same as driving after 4 beers – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  3. The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers

Texting While Driving:

  1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
  3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
  4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
  5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road

This is a serious problem and you are being asked to help stop this trend as much as possible. Keep these facts in mind as the topic is now taken sideways to ‘distracted communication’.

Case 1:

There is the couple who are out on their ‘date night’. The babysitter is home taking care of their 2.3 children. Here they are together at last in their favorite restaurant. The menus sit on the table as they longingly stare – down at their phones! Texting away! Checking emails! Not talking to each other! Not communicating or connecting with each other!

Case 2:

The meeting has been going on for twenty minutes. Of the twelve people in the room, eight keep looking down into their laps. Cell phones in place they are texting, emailing, and generally not paying any attention to the presentation or the discussion going on in the meeting.

Case 3:

You are standing face to face with another person. This may be an important conversation you wish to have with the other person. The other person has their cell phone out and is nodding as you speak as they are looking at their phone, texting or emailing someone else. You say, in order to confirm the person is not listening, “yes the diagnosis is I was born without a brain or a heart” and the person stands there nodding yes to you!

Action Step:

It may actually be necessary to say to someone in each of the above cases or in any situation, “Please put away your phone for a few minutes in order for us, you and I to communicate with each other. Would that be okay with you?”

What do you think? Seriously – please comment in the comments area.

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive coach, trainer and speaker based in Stamford, CT.

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Are You Texting While Driving?

texting-while-drivingAre you texting while driving? Seriously let me know in the comments area. This is one of the most current behaviors in distracted driving which is the cause of numerous accidents and in some cases death from accidents with cars, trucks, bicycles, taxis, buses and pedestrians.

It seems as if everyone feels they must see the messages on their cell phones as soon as these messages are posted. Then to make matters worse they are responding to the messages while driving!

No one questions the fact that this behavior is a distraction, however, the behavior still persists.

If we may all agree that the behavior of texting while conducting another activity is in fact a distraction – how about in your relationship and at work – would texting while involved in a conversation at home or texting while at work be considered a distraction?

You must have seen a couple out for an evening together sitting across from each other at the table.  Instead of looking into each others eyes and having a conversation they are sitting across from each other and looking at their cell phones! For the entire meal from the initial ordering process all the way through their dessert the blue light from their cell phones was reflected off of their faces.

Have you attended a meeting where a person or two or more were looking under the edge of the table and looking at their cell phones and texting during the meeting? Why were they even attending this meeting if the texting was more important to them than the topic being discussed at the meeting?

Do you have the feeling when on the phone with someone discussing business that the person on the other end of the conversation is either on social media, reading or writing email or texting? They keep asking you to repeat what you had said or asked them.

You ask a question and then wait and there is nothing for a full minute. Then the question comes, “Were you saying something? I thought we were disconnected?”

Where do you fall on this topic? Is it more important to be engaged with the people you are physically present with and have a conversation?

When you attend a meeting in person with people who are present and in person should anyone be in the meeting and texting? Take a moment and select one or more of these questions and respond in the comments area with your own thoughts or experiences on this topic. Depending upon your answers maybe the next article should be texted to your cell phone.

Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive and personal coach who resides in Stamford, CT.