Focused Communication

In a fascinating study1, researcher Shalini Misra and her colleagues brought people into a lab and split them into two groups:

  • The participants in the first group got to sit down and talk to a stranger while a smartphone was visible on the table next to them.
  • The participants in the second group got the same assignment but with a notebook visible instead of a smartphone.

When the researchers interviewed the participants afterward, they found something interesting.

The smartphone group rated the quality of their interactions as significantly lower compared to the notebook group.

It didn’t matter that the phone had laid still, dark, and silent throughout the meeting.

Its mere presence was enough to diminish the quality of the interactions.

So, whenever you want to have a meaningful exchange with someone, put your phone out of sight.

Ideally, you’ll also want to have it in airplane mode.

Because the fewer distractions you’ll have, the better your interaction will be.


  1. The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices

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