Team Meetings: The Techno-Addict and Side Conversationalist

Michele Pepe

In most meetings, you will see the following behaviors: someone texting, someone typing on her laptop, and someone talking quietly to the person next to him.

Most people are simply trying to get other work done during the occasionally slow (read: dull, boring) pace of a meeting. People are very efficient multitaskers. If two things can be accomplished at the same time, they will try their darnedest to do it.

Most meeting leaders ask me what can be done about this? Can they ban technology? Do ground rules help? Reality is this – you can’t really ban technology. It’s part of business. You can’t make people stop doing something. But you can plan for it, try to minimize its impact, and ideally try to redirect that energy.

I see these Distracting Participants this way – as a personal challenge to the meeting facilitator. Not in terms of a power play…

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