Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Laptops in Meetings

I've heard two schools of thoughts about laptops (cellphones, iphones, blackberries) in meetings:
  • School 1 says: Meetings are for paying attention. Get in, get business done, get out. No laptops (et al).
  • School 2 says: We're all adults here. Don't treat people like kindergartners by taking their toys away.
Now, here's the thing. I like to say that I'm all for School 1. However, I'm sitting in a meeting working on this blog entry. And at least a number of people in the office (hello, informal survey) are the same way. We take laptops to meeting because we feel like we're more efficient that way.

So here's the deal I will make with any person running a meeting I'm in:

I won't use my laptop if this meeting is effective.

Parsing this out:
I won't use my laptop
  • I will pay attention
  • I will have my laptop closed or not present at all (unless I'm the official notes taker)
this meeting is effective.
  • The meeting starts on time
  • The meeting ends on time
  • The meeting has a goal (and usually an agenda)
  • The meeting ends when there's no more to say, even if it runs shorts
  • The meeting doesn't change purpose just because a useful group of people happens to be in the room
Hopefully no one treats anyone like a kindergartner, and we can all spend a little less time in meetings.

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