August 19, 2009
Good Meeting Behavior
I've been in meetings with large groups of people at big companies where they're all on laptops the whole meeting, no one makes any eye contact with the speaker/facilitator, and it's hard to get a pulse out of the group as a result.
I almost entirely stopped bringing laptops and smartphones into business meetings a few years back. There's nothing I find more irritating than when other people are using them when it's my meeting. Even if they're taking notes, I never know if they're really taking notes or sneaking a peek at email. And in my experience, people who are on laptops and phones in meetings, whatever they're doing on those devices and however good they are at multi-tasking, aren't paying as close attention to the meeting as the other people in the room.
What I do instead is take notes on paper and spend 2 minutes after the meeting handling whatever data entry I need to handle on my computer.
I was very excited to see Brad's post about how he is now going to take paper notes in Board meetings rather than use his smartphone and be tempted to check email (and otherwise be distracted). Everyone should do this for every meeting. Board meetings are important examples, but they're not alone. It's just good meeting behavior. If you have other things to do, step out of the meeting and do them.