Yesterday afternoon, we are in the small conference room (cozily fits ~25 people) to hear an invited speaker.
Before she begins her presentation, she asks if anyone has any general questions within her area of expertise.
One person in the audience, we'll call him Binky, asks a question.
Madam speaker begins to answer the question. She is about 2 1/2 sentences into her answer when Binky's cell phone rings softly. He answers the cell phone.
Now the only sound in the room is the voice of Madam speaker and the whispering of Binky into his cell. It's bad enough when people are looking at text messages while supposedly in conversation with you.*
As you know, there is nothing more distracting than someone whispering. People turn towards Binky, annoyed. Binky keeps the conversation going.
After another few sentences, Madam Speaker grinds to a halt mid-sentence and says: Aren't you the one who asked the question?!
Someone elbows Binky and he says: I'm sorry. It's my son. He's having a problem.
He smiles, as if that explains everything, and walks out of the room, talking into his cell phone the whole time.
That's how to represent the organization well.
Jeez Louise, Binky. Either it's an emergency, in which case you explain it's an emergency and excuse yourself as soon as the phone rings or it's not an emergency in which case you turn your phone off.
* Okay, I am rather addicted to checking my (noiseless) messages/email on my phone but I try to be a bit discreet about it at work and I refuse to do it in social settings. At work, the old hold-the-phone-under-the-table-edge-while-you-check-it is a popular, although fairly transparent, gambit.**
** Okay, okay. I have briefly checked my messages in social settings when visiting the ladies room. Hey, you might as well be productive while you wait in line.***
*** I am a first-class rationalizer.