Have you ever considered banning technology from meetings?
We’ve all experienced it. You’re in a meeting, you identify what you believe is an IT glitch, and ask for input from the VP of IT. He looks up from his laptop and says: “Can you repeat the question?”
Or, a colleague looks up from their phone and brings up an issue that the team came to a decision on 20 minutes ago.
It’s frustrating, it’s disrespectful, and it wastes time!!!
Kathryn Vasel, in a CNN.com article, posed an important question: “Should laptops and phones be banned from meetings?”
In the article she stated: “Some companies are eliminating the distraction altogether, by banning technology in meetings. No laptops. No cell phones. Just face time.”
Additionally, she quotes Adrian Ward, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas: “Just the presence of a smartphone is a distraction…The process of tuning it out sucks up our cognitive resources to try and pay attention to something else. We learn better without technology.”
As a leader, it’s your job to facilitate meetings well and to intervene in disruptive meeting behavior. Facilitating meetings well includes supporting the development of stronger relationships, managing time spent in meetings, and creating meaningful outcomes, so, determining which option (allowing or banning technology from meetings) is best for your team is important.
Pros and Cons of Banning Technology from Meetings
There are Pros and Cons to banning technology from meetings. Some of the Pros for leaders banning technology from meetings are:
Better Team Member Relationships
When team members aren’t concentrating on electronics, meeting participants who talk in meetings feel more respected and heard, deepening the rapport between team members.
Teams build stronger and more productive relationships when they pay attention to each other in meetings, and part of the positive impact of having team meetings is that the relationships built in meetings carry over into day-to-day interactions.
Better Communication Between Team Members
If people are listening more closely the quality of the communication improves, participants are more present and engaged, and they are better able to observe nonverbal communication.
Technology such as laptops and iPhones distract us from truly listening to our teammates.