Do you want to see your sales soar, your relationships blossom, and your stress level decrease?  Unclip your electronic leash.  That’s right, turn off your mobile phone or better yet, leave it in the car when you arrive at a business meeting, networking event, or dinner with a loved one.  Before you immediately dismiss the idea, consider the following.

As hard as it may be to believe, back in the last century there was a time when no one had a mobile phone.  No one had access to the current Tweets from their friends, texts from their co-workers or weather updates from the web.  And people got along just fine.

Opportunity and outstanding situation marketing has driven us to believe that we should not (or cannot) function without our mobile device.  We have been conditioned to believe that we are less effective, less connected, and less important without a mobile phone.  And while recent studies indicate that people feel more stressed if they are without their mobile phone, these same studies indicate that the use of electronic communication is a tool to help people find “real world friends” (Keeping it real… ‘Offline’ communications still key to connecting with ‘Digital Generation’ DSSResources) .  In essence, people use mobile phones to enhance, not create relationships that matter.

And in a relationship that matters, what behaviors do you exhibit?  When you are with a premier client, do you answer your mobile phone or text to others?  When sharing an intimate dinner with your mate, do you text to others or receive calls from friends?  If you do, stop it now.

Aren’t there times when you intuitively know that you should silence your phone or leave it behind?  Would you answer your phone in a theatre?  At the symphony?  In the library?  Society is changing its tolerance of mobile phones and the abusers who use them.  The signs are everywhere.  In banks, at retail check out counters, and at virtually every governmental agency, mobile phone use is no longer permitted.

The reasons are many, but the simplest explanation is that we no longer wish to be told we are less important than the person who isn’t even here.  When you answer a mobile phone call or text a friend in the presence of others, you are telling them that they are not as important as the people you want to connect with who aren’t with you right now.

The biggest problem we have with mobile phones is they have become habitual.  Just like yawning, when others look at their phones or are texting, we feel compelled to look or text too.   Mobile phones are arguably the cigarettes of the new society.  We unknowingly light them up by checking for texts, messages, and missed calls.  For many, making a call the moment they get in the car has become a habit, just like lighting a cigarette was in the past.

Clearly there are times and circumstances where keeping your phone accessible is required.  You wife is expecting a child, you are expecting an important call, or you work in a field where you are on call.  The examples of acceptable reasons to keep your phone handy are as ubiquitous as phones themselves.  But stop for a moment and ask,  “Do I really need my phone right now?”

Try this test.  Look back through your call and text log over the past day.  How many calls and texts did you make and receive?  How many of those calls and texts were crucial?  How many were time sensitive?  How many really mattered at that moment?  You’ll find that most of the interactions on your mobile device are brain candy.  They keep you occupied.  And occupied while with a significant client or loved one is distracted.  You lose.

When you begin to focus on the people in front of you as much as you do your mobile device, you will begin to change the nature of your relationships.  Better relationships are the source of more sales and less stress.  Lose the leash.