Some people get really hung up about tech in meetings. It grates on them that someone can be tapping away on their laptop, tablet or smartphone and give the impression that they are not paying attention. I’m not one of them. It doesn’t really bother me. It just seems to be the way things are now.
Most meetings I go to are still temples to paper. People bring mountains of the stuff, filed by the day of the week and scribbled all over with things they may wish to say. I don’t. I bring along my laptop and type away, either directly amending the relevant report or keeping notes in my day-file.
I do confess to the occasional slip to look at emails or chat should the agenda item not be of interest or not require my input but I also can use the access I have at my disposal to improve my understanding of what is going on. I can drag up other relevant papers that others don’t have to hand. I can book appointments there and then or send off useful information immediately and if there is something that I don’t understand there are several useful search engines ready to offer their wisdom. From my perspective bringing tech into meetings enhances the experience rather than detracts from it. The positives outweigh any negatives.
It is also more honest. Just because you have paper in front of you does not mean that you are paying any more attention than your more connected neighbour. Who hasn’t doodled on the report? Who hasn’t grabbed a seat with a window view which will at least give you something to look at when drudgery prevails? I was once sitting next to a colleague who had scrawled ‘I’m bored, bored, bored’ on the paper in front of them. Now that was someone who was not engaged.
I know it grates on some people that I bring in tech but it grates on me that we bring in all that paper. It all has to printed, sorted and notated. Presumably those notes need to be transferred to some other electronic document before the printed copy is disposed of. I started off by bring in tech to make a point, to show that it is possible to leave the analogue world behind and challenge our own ways of working. But now it is much more than that for me.
It has been transformational. I’ve learned how to manage as a digital ambassador in an analogue world. I’ve come to understand what the issues are that need to be addressed to make it possible to work in this way from wherever I happen to be. I’ve learned to chip away at the inefficiencies that lurk within my approach and shown others that you can live the dream, if you so desire.
Technology is ubiquitous. People use it on the street, while watching television and even in the toilet. It may be a trend or it may be a long term change in the way that society operates.
I don’t get hung up on the use of tech in meetings. I was the only one without paper at the Area Action Partnership meeting this evening.