What? No phones and only one laptop in a meeting? But I am wasting so much time in these meetings! Let me at least catch up on some email while there.

Sounds familiar? The irony is the “solution” for making your meeting time “more productive”, is also the reason why so many meetings are such a waste of time. For a meeting to be productive its attendees need to pay attention, be part of the discussion and see facial expressions.

When people are on their phone or laptop, they will miss parts of the discussion and questions need to be repeated because the person who was asked the question wasn’t paying attention. People miss the nuances and don’t process what is actually said, only to come back in a later meeting to revisit the issue. With a phone or laptop we convince ourselves that we are more productive, but in reality we are not at all. You are not part of the meeting and at the same time you are also not focused on your “work” on your laptop or phone, assuming you are doing actual work and are not just scanning Facebook or reading the latest news.

Meetings can be boring

Some meetings are boring and you should ask yourself the question: Why are they boring? Is the topic not relevant for me? Is the discussion going around in circles? Is it just sharing information and not an active discussion? Chances are that during these meetings you will spend most of your time on your phone or laptop, focusing on things that have nothing to do with the meeting.

When meetings are boring go to the organizer after the meeting and suggest some improvements and/or changes. Perhaps you should not even have been part of the meeting. Or the meeting should have been split into two different meetings with some attendants not present in one of those meetings.

One thing is for sure when you ban phones and laptops from meetings, your meetings will be shorter. Without the distraction people will be more focused, questions do not need to be repeated and participants will get annoyed when the discussion goes around in circles and will force the group to make a decision.

One laptop

Yes there is one laptop or iPad for making your meeting notes in MeetingKing. Just one person writing down the main points of the discussion, clearly identifying what was decided and documenting tasks. You could do this while summarizing the discussed topic before moving onto the next topic. If you have a projector to project these notes that would be even better, so everyone can immediately verify that the notes correctly reflect the discussion. Participants may actually feel a sense of accomplishment!.

Your next step

For the next month ban all phones and laptops (except for the note taker) from your meetings and see how much more productive and shorter your meetings are!

If you want to read more on banning phones and laptops from meetings, there is an interesting article on CNN.