Technology in Meetings: Productive or Distracting?

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Posted At: September 12, 2012 2:20 P.M.
by Grace Roberts

You’ve prepared a meeting for an organization, internship or even a job that you know will grab every attendee’s attention and wow your supervisors. You’re excited to share your amazing new idea that will launch the next venture into becoming a success . . . until an audience member loses interest and takes a glance at his smartphone.

Whether he is checking for an important phone call, business email or even a new stream of Instagram photos, you instantly feel your presentation has lost its steam, as you’ve essentially been deprioritized by an electronic device.

Should you take a stand for his lack of engagement and chunk a book at his head or is this a new behavior we as a society must adapt to accepting?

Qumu, the leading business video platform provider, released the results in July 2011 of a Harris survey claiming that 63 percent of Americans believe employees glance at their smartphones during meetings.

The probability of this statistic declining is slim as people become increasingly dependent on mobile devices in both the workplace and at home. Although people are aware of the glorious advancement technology can have on a company’s overall productivity, it’s important to not forget the basics of what your mother taught you: manners.

When deciding if using your mobile device is appropriate in your workplace, always follow company policy or speak with an immediate supervisor if you have questions. Many organizations are setting standards on the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices in the office, so be aware and up to date on how your company views the use of these electronics.

If there is no official written policy on mobile devices in meetings, consider your company’s culture. It can offer signals of when using your device would be appropriate. For example, the use of technology would be expected inside an Apple boardroom meeting; however, a small publishing firm may find conversing with team members more beneficial, but still allows you to use your smartphone at your desk.

Catherine E. Toth from the Hawaii Business Magazine  suggests recognizing the purpose of why you need to use your mobile device in your current environment.

While many of us have an impulse to constantly stay connected, it’s important to unplug and be aware of our surroundings. Take time to determine if that updated status is worth ignoring colleagues and sending the message that you have more important things to do.

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