Thursday, December 01, 2005

Meeting Etiquette - Technology

I attend many meetings at work, and most are with people from the central IT office. They are early adopters of technology, but their use of said toys is most annoying and distracting. Today, during a meeting, I composed these etiquette rules for technology in that setting:
Keep your buzz to yourself!
Blackberry 7280If your Blackberry, Treo, or cell phone is set to vibrate, don't leave it on the conference table. A message or a call will send it jumping across the table, and all eyes will jump to watch its dance. It is so easy to turn off the notification during the meeting - do it! The Blackberry even allows different settings depending on whether it is in or out of the holster. Mine is set for total silence when it is out.
Handheld email browsing is rude
I wouldn't say it is distracting to look down at the tiny screen, spin the wheel, and occasionally thumb type a message, but it is rude to the speaker(s). Those messages will wait.
Clickity Clack
Reading mail, not to mention answering it, using a lap top is VERY distracting. I think people bring it along to take notes, but they end up doing everything that they would have done had they stayed back at the office. I remember sitting in a meeting where a special guest from the security office had been invited to weigh in on a problem. He spend most of the time checking and answering email messages. I wanted to grab his laptop, slam it shut, and tell him that he could get it back afterwards. (The jerk store called, and they're all out of you!) At a meeting yesterday with a consulting firm, one of the team spent all but about 10 minutes viewing family pictures in Flickr.
Laptop Envy
This isn't really an etiquette thing, but I hate it when someone walks in with a snazzy tablet PC, one of those swivel convertible jobs, or the latest Powerbook. Not only is their use distracting (read: interesting as hell), I spend the whole time trying to figure out how I can sell the boss on one for me!
Equipment Overload
One guy I meet with occasionally will walk in and unload a large pile of electronic goodies. He has a cell phone, a PDA with wireless, a laptop, an iPod (I guess for the walk back), and some kind of ├╝ber-pen that seems to either scan what is written, or save digital ink, and makes the data available for later download. I can't imagine needing that many tools to get my work done. Don't feel that you have to show us how connected you are (or rather how much of your budget you waste on crap.)
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Sent from Blackberry wireless device

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