On using technology during meetings

Should I be able to use my laptop during a meeting? I think yes.

Some of us use our smartphones, tablet, and laptops to take notes and make memos to ourselves.

I can understand not using them in some sessions. You know, like, if it’s a one on one, or you’ve got some high flyer coming to talk to you.

However, we need to respect how other people want to take notes and interact during meetings. If it’s a one-on-one meeting I will always ask whether it is okay if I use my laptop.

I personally feel more comfortable on laptop/phone than handwriting. I have terrible handwriting.

I also feel more confident because I can Google/look up things which I am not sure about rather than asking questions.

I can look up agenda and documents without having to print them off and, using the search function, I can find information within documents quickly.

And lastly, I can listen and check my emails/FB/Twitter. I’m giving up my time to be at a meeting but that doesn’t mean that other things are stopping.

I’m going to be a bit ageist here — but there is evidence to back up this claim —, but Baby Boomers just aren’t as comfortable as Gen Y with the use of technology during meetings.

One paper, called Managing Generation Y points out

Gen Y was socialized in a digital world. It is more than technically literate; it is continually wired, plugged in, and connected to digitally streaming information, entertainment, and contacts. It has so mastered technology that multitasking is a habit it takes into the workplace, where it tends to instant message its contacts while doing work (Lewis, 2003).

A recent study found Gen Y consuming 31 hours of media (through multi-tasting) within a 24-hour period (Weiss, 2003)

The point being that people my age do many things at once. Example: right now I am listening to Spotify, have one eye on twitter, Gmail chatting to Amy, reading that paper, and writing this. That probably makes us more productive, right? Especially if the point of your job/thing you’re in the meeting for is to take in information.

There are a range of reasons people use electronic devices during meetings. Making a blanket assumption that usage detracts from contribution is wrong.

[edit: added tablets into the start. I don’t use one because I find them annoying to type on and have a small laptop for photoshop, video editing, as well as notes etc]


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