Forget food allergies— they were so 2015. The newest worrying trend for meeting planners is Nomophobia.
Nomophobia (also known as No-Mobile-Phone-Phobia) is an overwhelming fear of being out of contact through one's mobile phone.
While nomophobia may not be listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) yet, it’s clear that many of us depend heavily on our mobile devices.
A recent study by Lookout Inc. titled Mobile Mindset Study looks at the relationships, emotions, and behaviors driven by our mobile phones. Some of the highlights of the Lookout study include:
- 60% of respondents say they don’t go an hour without checking their phone.
- 54% of respondents say they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up, even in the middle of the night.
- Nearly 40% of respondents admitted to checking their phone while on the toilet.
- 30% admitted that they check their phones during a meal with others.
- 24% say they check their phones while driving.
- 9% say they check their phones during religious services at a house of worship. (I expect that percentage is far higher during conference sessions.)
- 73% say they felt panicked when they lost their phone.
How do you know if your attendees are suffering from nomophobia?
- They walk out in the middle of an energizing keynote mumbling “only 10 percent of battery remaining, only 10 percent of battery remaining, only 10 percent of battery remaining.”
- They are clustered in small groups (usually around a power source) having an intense debate over the best backup power supplies available.
- You can hear them on a phone call when sequestered in a bathroom stall.
- You find yourself consulting them on where the best reception is at the venue. Immediately they whip out blueprints of the building with key access areas highlighted in varying shades based on quality of reception.
- They run up to your medical emergency services desk and demand to borrow a charging cable for their mobile device.
- They claim they can't see your well-placed directional signage, but have super-power quality vision when it comes to spotting an empty outlet 50 yards away.
Okay, admittedly I am jesting here a bit, but the fact is, some people just cannot live without their devices. Given that some studies’ claim up to 54 percent of people suffer from nomophobia, it’s likely you have several of these people at your event.
Incorporating charging stations throughout your venue will help keep attendees from wandering away from your event in search of a power source. It wouldn’t hurt to have an assortment of charging cables on hand for those who forgot to bring theirs. And it goes without saying, make sure the venue you select has good Wi-Fi and full network coverage.
What are ways you’ve accommodated nomophobics at your events? Share them in the comments below.
Written by Traci Browne