Meetings Hate Cell Phones.

Meetings and Cell PhonesLet me start off by saying that I think meetings, for the most part, are held for the complete wrong reasons.  It seems to me that most meetings, which for the most part I no longer attend, are geared towards dates, schedule, and checklists.  I tend to agree more with a post by Andrew Swenson who writes at  He argues that,

If you really want to, you can still meet with your department, but instead of passing information, use the time for creative problem solving.

Like myself, he believes that

…the simple solution to preventing the monumental time suck of departmental meetings is an online forum using a service like Google Wave, Ning, Facebook, or a custom install behind the firewall.

I would go on to add basecamp, staction, and google docs as other key players in the online collaboration arena as well.

With that said, if you are having a meeting to actually solve a problem or talk creatively around a project, would you please leave your phone behind or at least leave it out of sight?  Alright ya, I have done it before and I understand that everyone is “doing it,” but lately it has been driving me nuts.  In the recent months I have made a point to turn off my phone during meetings and actually listen to what the people have to say in the meeting.  What do i hear? I hear the same people, the same question, at every meeting.  “Can you please repeat that?” or “What were you asking?”  If we wanted to come to the meeting and type on our phone’s the entire time we could have stayed at our desk’s and had a circle text.  I mean really, why don’t we all just sit in a circle and text each other then?  It isn’t until you stop, look around, and realize that everyone in the room is typing on their damn phone that it will drive you crazy.  Especially when the person talking has to repeat themselves 2, 3, or even 4 times.  If there really is a need for a meeting and all of the participants indeed need to be in attendance then we should have a new “golden rule.”  No cell phones are allowed during meetings, Period.

Think about it, as books and print transition more and more onto digital screens, our phone is a newspaper, book, and dvd player for that matter.  Imagine sitting in a meeting or a classroom and flipping through the newspaper during the creative briefing.  It just wouldn’t make sense.  Just because the phone fits nicely in the palm of your hand and slightly below the surface of the table doesn’t mean the concept is any different.  Now that the phone is our main source of content we need to realize that collaboration and creativity come from the interaction of individuals coming together and brainstorming ideas, not from staring at a leash we have come to know as a phone.  So ask yourself 2 questions, is this meeting worth having and if so then should we all bring our phones to talk to each other?

I find that most people will agree with me on this subject but are not really sure how to approach the issue in meetings.  I believe it is a lot easier to make suggestions to people when you ask them how they feel about a subject and then if you have agreement among the group it doesn’t come off as you trying to “lay down the law.”  Instead of situations where it would seem as though you were calling people out for something, I would simply ask at the beginning of a meeting if all in attendance would agree that we should put away our cell phones and get through the meeting as smoothly as possible?  I think you will find that most people will agree and hopefully then take your advice with them to their own meetings.

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This post was written by Shane Mac, co-founder of m2volt, and he only ‘interviewed’ a few prostitutes for this post, a while back.  Read more about him or follow him on twitter.

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  • Mario

    I agree 100% on this matter… I think its disrespectful. Its funny because it seems like nobody even silences their cell phones anymore.

    My new facebook status: “I'm in a meeting and not getting anything out of it for some reason”

  • Mario

    I agree 100% on this matter… I think its disrespectful. Its funny because it seems like nobody even silences their cell phones anymore.

    My new facebook status: “I'm in a meeting and not getting anything out of it for some reason”

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