Sunday, April 6, 2008

Topless Meeting Etiquette

There was an interesting article last week in the Los Angeles Times about how companies are now requiring employees to power down their laptops, mobile phones and Blackberrys while in meetings. This is designed to enhance productivity, encourage dialogue and demonstrate consideration for colleagues.

Silicon Valley Meetings Go Topless,1,6227188.story?track=rss

Two quotes from the article indicate divergent views on this topic:

"One of my biggest frustrations when I was an engineer at Google was being summoned to an executive meeting only to find three-quarters of the executives too busy with their laptops. I'd spend hours preparing a summary of my project status, a briefing on a new strategy area, or a review of staffing assignments. Nothing communicates disrespect to your reports like ignoring them when they're with you."

Jeremy Zawodny

"Occasionally, if I see someone too absorbed reading e-mails, I will elbow them," Lo said. "People are going to get distracted. It's OK as long as it is not for an extended period of time. I get distracted myself. That's just how meetings are nowadays."

Selina Lo, CEO
Ruckus Wireless

I have attended a handful of new business presentations in which the executives we’re pitching are more concerned with their Email than our thoughts. Needless to say, not one of those companies has ever become a client.

Admittedly, I also take a peek at Email in a meeting, especially when its length runs more than hour. I’m concerned that I am sending the wrong message to my colleagues and will now make a point to keep my smartphone secured in its case.

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