Dear CC: I recently took a client out for lunch, and she spent the first half of the meal checking her BlackBerry. And now I notice my colleagues often talk to me while e-mailing at the same time. Just me? Or has the workplace got ADD?
Yes, the CrackBerry can be a dangerous thing. CC's been known to do the manic thumb-dance in hospital rooms and houses of worship, alas. Have you thought about IM-ing the offending lunch date a "Hey, look @ me!" between courses? A client makes it more difficult, of course, as you don't want to risk offense. You may try something like, "I know your time is short today, as is mine, but why risk indigestion by multitasking? Let's enjoy our turbot and then go over that concept we discussed." Or you might agree ahead of time, half-jokingly, half-not, to check your devices at the door when you walk in - the modern-day equivalent of leaving your guns on the bar at the Old West saloon.