Ban laptops and cell phones at meetings

I’ve been known to ban all laptops and cell phones in meetings. I understand that sometimes people use them to take notes or look things up – but most often I find people use them to concentrate on something else other than the meeting. This is bad because:

  • If you are sitting there obviously not participating, it makes the other people in the meeting feel like you don’t care.
  • If someone actually has a question for you, the meeting has to stop while someone catches you up. Then the meeting takes much longer.
  • Since you were at the meeting, everyone thinks you agreed to what was discussed but not only do you not necessarily agree, you might not even know what’s going on.
  • You were invited to the meeting because the organizer thought you had something to contribute to the discussion and you are not giving 100% thought to the meeting.

Meetings without electronics are much more productive, more fun and shorter! So I was happy to see this article today, Companies go ‘topless’ at meetings.

Many companies are banning
electronics during meetings after getting increasing complaints of
sidetracked workers slowing down productivity, the Los Angeles Times
reported Monday.

"Laptops, Blackberries, Sidekicks, iPhones and
the like keep people from being fully present. Aside from just being
rude, partial attention generally leads to partial results," said Todd
Wilkens of Adaptive Path, a San Francisco design firm

I have my doubts about how wide spread it is, but I wholly endorse it.

I should point out that I’m one of the worst – if I have my laptop at a meeting there’s a very good chance I’ll end up not listening to at least part of the meeting while I answer an email or check some fact online. You simply cannot read and listen at the same time.

So here’s to no laptops and no cell phones at meetings!