Unplugged – Get The Most Out Of Meetings

We appear to be hurried today more than any other period in our checkered history. Even with the latest communication gadgets, our ability to become engaged has been severely compromised. This conclusion hit home recently as I sat in a meeting and within minutes, mobile phones were in hand and eyes glued to the content on the participants devices. Admittedly, I have found myself acting out the very behaviour witnessed. For many of us, the digital age distracts us from the art of engagement. We have become slaves to tools that were created to enhance our interconnectedness. We are seduced by the power we have to access information at any given point in time and our inability to tame our appetite for “digital news” impacts the quality of our interaction with others.

How do we self-regulate to get the most out of human to human interactions during meetings?

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Meetings are purpose driven. Silence your mobile phones and place them out of easy reach. The temptation to sneak a peek at the sound of your phone vibrating/buzzing is distracting to not only you but other participants.
  2. Many apps today have a status bar for updates. Make use of the options available to let your contacts know when you are indisposed.
  3. If your are expecting an important call, arrange a convenient time  with the caller to contact them or for them to contact you. If this happens to be during the meeting, step outside to make the call.
  4. For many of us, we take notes using tablets/laptops. Indicate to the participants that you will be taking notes, so as to avoid the disapproving looks.
  5. If you declare your are taking notes, do not open your social media or instant messenger applications. Others will be aware that you are not focused on the agenda and may be offended by your actions.
  6. With the distractions out of the way, become engaged through the practice of reflective listening. Meetings are called for a variety of reasons and your input as well as the input of others is crucial to its success.

Our behaviours are habit forming so it is essential to practice the appropriate etiquette to achieve the most from our interaction with others.

Copyright Suzette Henry Campbell 2014




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