On a project management forum I frequent, someone asked whether or not it was rude to use digital devices during meetings.
Some responses were flat out rejections of using digital devices. Other responses were accepting of using technology while others are speaking.
Personally, if you are not being disruptive, I don’t think it’s rude to use your digital devices in a meeting. I think what’s more important to note is why people are using their digital devices during the meeting.
As a new project manager, you will probably be hosting many meetings for a project. It’s up to you to stay focused even if the participants aren’t captivated the entire time.
As project managers in general, we should really take a good look at why we call meetings at all.
You may think you’ve called everyone together to get their input. But how many people did you invite? What often happens is that a few people talk at once, and several people are left out and unable to contribute.They will inevitably find a more useful way to spend their time.
You may think you’ve called a meeting at a good time because everyone was available on the calendar at the same time — finally. But realistically, almost everyone has something going on before and after your meeting. Your meeting isn’t the only thing occupying their attention. An empty space on a calendar really isn’t an empty space.
As project managers, we need to ask ourselves what kind of meetings we are calling, what’s the purpose, who must be invited and why to determine if a meeting is the absolute best way for you to impart or gather a particular type of information. The reason for calling a meeting should not be because it’s the easiest way to give information or to get input.
If you do find that you must meet, consider having several smaller meetings in small spaces that engage your core audience. Invite three to five people instead of a huge group. You can even adopt the agile practice of having 15-minute stand-up meetings to encourage groups to focus and get through agenda items quickly.
Sitting in a room waiting to be engaged is bound to lose anyone’s attention. If you keep your attendee list short, even if the meeting is long, there is more audience engagement and less individual downtime. Most importantly, there is less opportunity for someone to tune out because they feel no one is paying attention to them.
How do you engage team members during meetings, and do you care if they use digital devices?
The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.
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