Should I Bring My Laptop To Your Meeting?

A couple weeks back I was in a client meeting giving a presentation of two alternate solutions. Afterward I asked the lead architect for her recommendation.“Uhhhhh, can you repeat that again real quick?” she blankly asked.Seriously?! I’ve just spent the last 10 minutes describing everything, but you were too busy hacking away on your Blackberry. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could just ban technology altogether in meetings?

Well……maybe not.

Please Check Your Phones at the Door?

You’ve likely witnessed some variation of this mandate to ban computers & phones from meetings. This isn’t realistic though. Nor does it even solve the root cause.

And do I really want to go back to hand writing all my notes & then typing them up afterward? Or do I want to deal with printing handouts instead of emailing a PowerPoint? And what happens when someone didn’t do their prep work and we need to look up a stat real quick?

So, banning devices from meetings might not be that great after all.

Don’t Boycott Technology!
In fact it does more harm than good by prohibiting technology in meetings – you lose all the benefits technology brings. Remember 37signals’ Boycott A Meeting Day? Instead of not having any meetings at all, we realized it’s better to focus on making our meetings better. Same situation here.

We should stop trying to go cold turkey and instead focus on moderation and setting boundaries! I recently saw a great post that set rules for what you CAN and SHALL NOT do with your devices during meetings:

You Shall Not:
  • You shall not surf the web during a meeting.
  • You shall not send an instant message to anyone in the meeting.
  • You shall not send text messages with any mobile device.
You Can:
  • You can research topics that are relevant to the meeting.
  • You can type notes.
  • You can share information from your device to a projector for all to see.

Take a moment to also consider why you’re not getting the attention you think you deserve. Maybe the person sending an email from their phone shouldn’t have been invited to your meeting. Or ask, is the meeting itself really necessary?

So remember, keep bringing your phones and computers to meetings (e.g. LessMeeting), just stop looking at those Lolcats.

image: TIME

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