3 reasons people multitask in your meetings

texting in meetings

Even when they do it under the table, you know when meeting participants are tapping away on their mobile phones instead of paying attention. Maybe you even hear someone on a conference call clicking computer keys. Before you dismiss those people as rude and unprofessional, check whether your meetings may be the problem.

Perhaps you:

  • Failed to set behavior standards. Lead by example, visibly turning off your mobile phone before addressing the group. If your team has several bad behaviors, take time to adopt group rules for meetings, such as no mobile devices unless they are being used for meeting business, no side conversations and no interrupting each other.
  • Invited the wrong people. When people aren’t involved in the discussion their attention will wander. Review whom you invite and whether you require some people for only a portion of the meeting. If you set—and stick to—a timed agenda, people can flow in and out of the meeting as necessary.
  • Are boring. Don’t waste people’s time with information they could have read on their own or by reading PowerPoint slides bullet point by deadly bullet point. Set an active pace for the meeting, with interesting content. Invite other people to lead sections of the meeting that are most relevant to them. Make your points with anecdotes or video clips. Instead of holding meeting participants hostage, hold their interest.

What types of meeting misbehavior bother you most?

[Image Source: Joi Ito]

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This entry was posted in Communication, Leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 3 reasons people multitask in your meetings

  1. Jamie says:

    Great post! Another one to add to your great list is when the discussion goes on and on and there is no resolution. Then the meeting ends up taking twice as long as it should. Thanks for addressing this topic so well!

  2. Thank you, Jamie. That is a great addition to the list. When I was a new manager I had to learn how to control discussions and stop ramblers.

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