Is It Rude to Take Notes On Your Phone?

Imagine this scenario for a second: You're at a networking event, and just met a wonderful, likable personality in your industry that has a lot to offer your company. After you suggest setting up a mutually beneficial partnership, they move to take down your info. Would you be put off if they reached for their iPhone and buried their gaze in the touch keyboard?

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Because of their multi-tasking capabilities, smartphones (and their sizable older brother: the tablet) get a bad reputation. When you're tapping away on your iPhone or iPad's screen during a business meeting, it's unclear if you're taking notes, texting a friend about tonights plan or even brazenly playing a game of Angry Birds.

And so, we wondered if taking notes on your phone might seem rude to some. If you were on the other side of the scenario above, might it be better to reach for a sticky note and pen than your Blackberry?

Nah! We think it's fine to jot down quick notes on your phone or tablet. Just make sure you follow a few good-etiquette guidelines:

  • Make sure the other person/people can see your screen. Nothing screams "I'm goofing off" like sheilding your screen. Show them that you're actually taking notes by making sure your screen is in eye shot.
  • Offer to share your notes. A simple phrase like "Let me email this to you" will let people in on why you use your phone to take notes: It's a great tool to efficiently create, archive and share your notes.
  • Keep the communication going. The biggest problem with smartphones? They seem to shorten their user's attention span. Let your partner(s) know that you're still engaged in the dialogue by speaking up and keeping the conversation moving.


What do you think? Is it rude to take notes on your phone? Or is this the 21st-century way of doing business? Let us know in the comments!



(Images: Flickr member Joi licensed for use under Creative Commons, Apple)

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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer in Atlanta, Georgia. Living in an apartment with her husband and their Boston Terrier, Bacon, she loves to entertain and hates having a tiny kitchen.