I wanted to thank Rachel Feintzeig from the Wall Street Journey for her article on how meetings are conducted at United Shore Financial Services.

Rachel Feintzeig writes, “The chief executive of the Troy, Mich.-based wholesale mortgage lender noticed that his leadership team often zoned out during weekly senior-management meetings. The breaking point came when one leader repeated another attendee’s comment, not 30 seconds after he said it, clearly showing he hadn’t been following the conversation”. I bet you can recount a similar personal experience; I know I can.

No Technology Allowed in my meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CEO commented on the flow of emails, texts and other distracting matters buzzing attendees’ smartphones and popping up on their tablets. So, he barred laptops and iPads and attendees were instructed to leave phones in their pockets, if not at their desks.

We have all become so comfortable checking our email almost every minute. The next time you are at the airport, just watch those around you. Everyone is checking their email. Boy, we have lots of really important people who the world will stop without someone responding to their email within a few minutes.

I understand the mental adjustments needed to support this approach, but it’s an approach that not only helps drive improved contributions from the attendees, but also greater signs of respect. Personally, I began taking this approach about two years ago when I decided to not bring my laptop or my phone to check my email in my 30-minute or 60-minute meetings. I found I am more engaged and actually listen and can offer better and thoughtful contributions.

 

Meeting Policy- no technology open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I challenge you to watch your next meeting. Most will be checking their email and texting. I view this as a sign of disrespect or lack of interest. Maybe that’s why meetings last so long. Also notice, that when the boss is speaking, everyone stops their email and texting, out of a sign of respect. I’ve seen a really bad example when it’s just two people and the senior person is reading their text messages. Hello, is the person in front of you so unimportant that you can’t pay attention? If not, why meet? Just send an email.

The article closes with an interesting statistic. The CEO estimates that on average the approach saves 15% to 20% of attendees’ time. Could you use 15% to 20% more time in your day? I know I could.

No distractions. Greater respect for those around you. Shorter meetings. What a concept!

Try it yourself today. It’s not as hard as you might think.