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While sitting in a meeting, never take notes directly on your Blackberry, iPhone, Droid or other smart phone.

This applies for all professionals, but especially salespeople.  You might be the most amazing tech user the world has ever seen.  You might have the ability to type 40 words per minute on your iPhone — but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

The reason is simple — the vast majority of people will assume you’re bored and checking messages.   Older salespeople understand that this assumption exists, but I’m amazed at how many salespeople under the age of 30 don’t get it.

It doesn’t matter who you’re meeting with. Do yourself a favor and use a pen to take notes.

A general rule for any meeting is keep your iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone on silent and put away.  There is nothing more frustrating than to watch another person’s iPhone vibrate with a new message while it’s sitting on the table in front of everyone.

I don’t care how big your ego is. Put it away.

There is an appropriate time to take it out, such as to check dates for the follow-up sales call or to verify another date.

A few tips on taking notes:

First, make sure you jot down notes on whatever the customer has to say.  Nothing will show them more about how much you value what they’re saying than by taking notes.

Second, taking notes allows you to be the one to recap the meeting.   If you can be the one to send out the follow-up email immediately after the meeting with your notes, you have the ability to influence the outcomes.

Third, it will help you stay focused.  When we take notes, we naturally have to concentrate more on what is being said.  This prevents us from losing focus or spending our time solely focused on what we want to say next.

What about an iPad?

Some of you reading this may be wondering how an iPad or other tablet plays into the process.  My answer is that taking notes on an iPad is OK, as long as you can meet the following three criteria:

First, you have to keep it visible so people can see you’re typing directly on a tablet.

Second, everyone else in the meeting must be at least technically comfortable.  By this I mean they have to see the value of technology and use it in their jobs.  If a person is leery of technology, the last thing you want to do is to whip out an iPad just as the meeting starts.

Third, make sure that as you use the tablet for notes, you do not page over to check email, etc.

Finally, make sure all alert features have been disengaged to prevent the nagging buzz or beep at the inopportune time.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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