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Is Distracting Tech Crashing Your Meetings?

November 13th, 2017 in

Technology’s effect on our everyday lives can’t be overstated. And considering all the minutiae it carries out for us — housing calendars, creating lists, taking notes, etc. — we’d be lost without technology on most days.

But for all the convenience it brings, technology gives us the confidence to think we can competently do multiple things at once. For instance, think about taking your laptop into your most recent workplace meeting. You probably opened it up wanting to just take notes, but you were soon bombarded with a bunch of notifications, alerts, and emails that took you right out of the meeting and into whatever that notification, alert, or email said.

Technology is just one thing of a million that can take an attendee’s head out of the flow of a meeting and to some other location. For all the good it does, it’s important to temper its use of during meetings to make the gathering — and yourself — as productive as possible.

Minimize Technical Difficulties

A Harris Poll for CareerBuilder noted that about a quarter of employees spend no less than an hour a day on technology-related distractions like personal emails. Time is precious in meetings, so curbing the temptation to get lost in your phone or computer is key.

Use these three steps to set standards, add value, and reduce the human penchant for giving in to technical interruptions during meetings:

  1. Follow a DRI mentality. Steve Jobs had a lot of ideas; in fact, you’re probably reading or listening to something on one of them right now. But during his time at Apple, Jobs came up with the “DRI,” or directly responsible individual, approach, which gives each attendee a task or action item to carry out afterward.

Directly responsible individuals should hold meeting attendees accountable, attentive, and focused on the task at hand. No one can drop the ball — or get lost in an email, text, tweet, or notification — in this type of clearly organized environment.

  1. Make sure everyone has a “next step.” No one should leave a meeting without clearly understanding expectations and next steps. This may mean an end-of-meeting rehash, followed by a shared document that outlines everyone’s deadlines and duties. Not sure you covered everything during your conversation? Set up a follow-up while everyone is still in the room.
  2. Experiment with various formats. Your team is unique, so work with them to find the ideal meeting format. Perhaps it’s time-limited meetings or meetings that take place standing up.

Whatever you do, be sure to keep the feedback flowing among attendees. This should tighten your processes, make meetings less challenging, and keep attendees engaged rather than distracted by tech.

Tech Tailor-Made for Your Meeting

Just as some types of technology drain meeting attendees, others can leverage digital advancements to make everyone more well-organized and efficient. A prime example is Voicera’s platform, Eva — a personalized Enterprise Voice Assistant.

At meetings, Eva’s AI listens in, takes notes, and identifies action items. After the meeting, participants can utilize the cloud-based Voicera ecosystem to organize, edit, and share highlights, leading to heightened, continual collaboration. The overarching goal of Eva is to utilize the voices of meeting attendees — whether employees, partners, customers, or prospects — in order to influence how work gets done.

Rather than tech taking people’s attention away from meetings, Eva helps funnel attendees’ attention to big-picture concepts that your meeting covers. It rolls all the things that help technology optimize meetings, eliminate distractions, and keeps attendees focused on the next agenda item.

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