In the age of social media, the Internet and the availability of Google search easily on your phone, it’s hard to have a conversation with your friends over coffee, lunch or even a social event! Don’t get me wrong…I love being able to share photos of my family with friends when we’re out and answer questions we’re debating at the tap of my phone, but sometimes enough is enough!

While we work in PR, social media and digital marketing, we are always aware of the “digital diplomacy” when out with clients, friends and family. Yes it’s true….we are constantly monitoring our clients’ social media mediums, following-up on emails and checking status updates, but we know how to multitask respectfully.

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Don’t get me wrong, when it’s Emily and I out to lunch together alone, we will update each other on current projects and do some shop talk, but we also have an understanding of “now it’s time to check up on clients, see the latest news stories and follow-up with clients and vendors since we’re here waiting for our meal.” However, at social engagements including dinner parties, client meetings and workshops/conference we know when to put down the phone and engage with the people that are actually with us!

“With cellphones being mobile, we don’t separate the phone and the person anymore. We expect people to interact with their phone when they interact with us.” – Tyana Daley, an Orlando web-content manager (source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel; June 8, 2015)

We’re able to multitask diplomatically and politely because we have a system. Here are some of our best tips to help you engage with your current company while also being able to engage on social media:

  1. Divide & Conquer: Many times, Emily and I have multiple events, engagements and conferences to attend. Either we attend together and have staff monitor trending topics and client accounts or we divide and conquer. If Emily is out at a social function, I’m monitoring and glued to my computer and phone!
  2. Ask Permission: Don’t be a pusher. If you’re out to dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile and are catching up, it may be easier to show images of your family on Facebook to share your story. Before you just bombard them, ask if they mind if you show them some images from your phone first.
  3. Apologize & Excuse Yourself: It seems like something common, but it’s more than just excusing yourself from a social function or lunch meeting/date to accept a call. If you know you’re expecting a breaking news story with a client or may have a possible call at the end of your meeting, let the person you’re with know when you first arrive. They will be more understanding since you are cluing them in, and respecting their time (and yours) at the same time.