Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pausing Technology...If Only For an Hour

I was facilitating a workshop last week at a client we have worked with for several years. They are a successful firm that has had continued growth for many years. I noticed something about the participants that caught my attention. They were all actively participating, using paper and pens to take notes and giving me pretty consistent eye contact. It is sad to say this experience is becoming more and more rare. When I facilitate or speak today, I am often looking out at just the top of heads because attendees are looking down at phones, iPads and laptops.

Some people claim that they hate to write or can’t read their own handwriting and want to take electronic notes which I understand, but I can also tell you that every time there is a physical laptop barrier between me and you, a degradation of quality and communication occurs. You will likely only receive half of what I am sharing as you also respond to emails, look at your calendar and read social media alerts. And you also minimize your coworkers’ ability to absorb new information as well, distracted by your typing on the keys, or wondering what you are working on not related to the meeting topic.

One reason that group in front of me that day was so attentive? Their firm has a strict “no electronics in meetings” policy. The three owners of the business comply with it and role model its importance so everyone else follows the rules too. I am convinced it is one of the reasons why they are so successful, and would encourage you to implement one in your office too.

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