Can I tell people to turn off their phones in a meeting?

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When I’m in a meeting and making a presentation, I often see that other people are checking emails and texting on their phones. I think that’s really rude. Can I say something to them, even if they aren’t on my staff?

Are you sure that it isn’t because they are bored?

I’m only half joking.

While attendees should pay attention to the person speaking, I’ve been in many meetings where the speaker lost me and I couldn’t resist pulling out my phone, even if my career depended on it.

Otherwise — it is perfectly acceptable to set an expectation at the beginning of a meeting or presentation that you ask people to close their laptops and put phones away.

What I wouldn’t do is interrupt your own presentation by calling anyone out in the middle of your speech.

That’s not going to go over well with anyone, and while you may win the battle you will certainly lose the audience.

I was supposed to start an internship next week, but I’ve just been offered a better opportunity that’s more exciting. Do I turn it down or take it? If I take it what do I give to the other company?

Intern speaking to boss.
Be honest with the employer you are rejecting.

Business ethics lessons start early.

Generally, you should honor your commitments.

You went through a process, after which you and the company made a decision to work together.

Other candidates who also wanted the job were rejected. So at the last minute to pull out is just wrong.

That said, if this is a one-time isolated instance, and the opportunity that has presented itself is truly so superior to the one you accepted, then you get a one-time pass, even though it’s not an ideal situation.

Be honest with the employer you are rejecting. It’s one thing to go back on a commitment for what you consider to be a good, valid reason, but it’s another not to own the decision by making excuses or lying about it.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Wed. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. Email: Follow: and on Twitter: @GregGiangrande

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