Lap-"topless" meetings - Good or Bad?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Lap-"topless" meetings - Good or Bad?

Somehow I never thought I'd used the words "lap" and "topless" in an article title due to the images they convey.  In any event, many businesses allow their employees to take their laptops and Blackberries into corporate meetings. There are pluses and minuses to allowing laptops and other communications devices in to meetings. The plus side is that the employee can multi-task. The minus side, is that the employee can multi-task.

I've been in meetings with co-workers where they are on laptops "attempting" to multi-task and then when the floor is given to them to answer a question they respond "What? I didn't catch that. Repeat the question." It doesn't give a good impression of the employee that they weren't paying attention.

That said, there are many meetings where employees don't need to listen to certain portions of the meeting that don't pertain to them and therefore can better spend their work time reading email or doing other tasks. It's tricky and I can see both points of view. I've seen some really bad multi-taskers in meetings that give the impression they care more about checking their email than the meeting at hand. But I've also seen some good multitaskers that can be in an hour long meeting and get a ton of work done while also providing insightful input into the meeting. Check out this photo of an apparent meeting going on. Doesn't look like a collaborative meeting to me.

Rich Tehrani is very pro-laptops in meetings where as Adaptive Path Blog takes a decidedly anti-laptop in meetings point of view. Adaptive Path Blog writes, "I’ve gone a step further by trying to ban any form of networked communication from the working meetings I put together. While my colleagues here at Adaptive Path have been tolerant of my eccentricities, it’s not so easy when working with clients whose companies have a culture of being always connected and checking. So, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve picked up for getting people to put down their Crackberries and actually do some work. [more...]

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