No Cellphones designed by Peter Hayward from the Noun Project.

No Cellphones designed by Peter Hayward from the Noun Project.

For the past year, Brad Dickason has left his laptop and phone out of meetings. While many of us couldn’t fathom being away from our cell phone for more than two minutes, Brad gives us two surprising benefits from keeping them out of meetings:

The people who are talking ONLY look at you. Everyone else has their laptop open, so the speaker’s eyes are fixed on you because you’re the only one looking at them and making eye contact. Maybe everyone else is subconsciously aware of what’s being said, but it’s really interesting to see everyone else staring at their screens while you and the person talking are actually communicating.

Meetings take less time. If one person is totally engaged, it quickly becomes clear that things are going off track and they can speak up and say “Hey guys, let’s keep it moving.”

Brad’s advice seems forward enough, but how many times have you caught yourself checking email or browsing Twitter while someone was presenting? The results are often slower meetings, individuals missing key information, or everyone questioning why there was a meeting to begin with; all points which Brad addresses in his full writeup.

So the next time you go to a meeting, save yourself (and your co-workers) time and attention by suggesting laptops and cell phones stay out of it. Or make meetings entirely better by taking them outside.

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