There’s no going back. Technology has become firmly rooted into our business meetings. I see more laptops, tablets and phones at meetings than ever before. It’s the norm.
However, this doesn’t mean that technology should take over the meeting. Smartphones and texts should not be excuses to mentally or physically leave a meeting. When we bring our devices to a meeting it’s to help us be more efficient and productive, not interrupt the meeting. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years about bringing technology into the meeting:
- Manage sounds on your devices. Unless it’s an emergency, most of the calls we get during meetings can wait until after it’s over. There’s no need to interrupt the meeting to take a call. If need be, you can tell a colleague prior to the meeting that you’ll be unavailable for the next hour and get back to them then.
- Plan an escape route. If you are in the middle of an urgent situation – for example, someone is getting fired or an investigation is taking place – sit near exit doors so you can participate but also make a quick exit if necessary. Also, it’s helpful to tell people up front that you might have to step out of the room if a certain call comes.
- Be an outlet sharer. This is very handy during all-day meetings. Depending upon where the meeting is held, WiFi is still an unstable thing. Most days my iPhone will go all day without a charge. And then there are times at 11a I’m at 40%. WTH?! So I bring a multi-outlet charger with me. I can charge my devices and others can too!
- Have “phone check” breaks. These do not need to be lengthy. The purpose is just to respond to immediate issues – it’s not a substitute for office time. But they can be very handy during a two-hour meeting which might not justify a formal break but allows people to check in with their office.
- Ask permission to take/publish photos. It’s great to share what you’re working on. But, we do have to be sensitive to the feelings of others. They might be fine with sharing some images and not others. Best to ask and tell them how you’re going to use it.
How do you manage technology during your business meetings? Leave your best practices in the comments!