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The "Blackberry Prayer" and Meetings

A recipe that doesn't work...

Have you heard of the "blackberry prayer?" It is what you see when someone is checking his or her smart phone under a table. Yes, it looks something like praying, but unfortunately, that person may be flirting with the devil instead.

Save your "prayers" for another time!

Here's the deal--

People can think about only one thing at a time.

A growing body of research indicates a significant loss of efficiency during multi-tasking. Technical devices often distract people. Some attendees are simply addicted to technology or new information. If a smart phone or tablet are distracting influences, there are those who simply can’t stay focused on the issue or agenda item. In a world of 15-second television commercials offering dramatic eye candy, some individuals simply can’t ignore their hunger for stimulation. They hear or feel their phone vibrate, and it’s virtually impossible for them to stay in focus. And when they stop attending to the person who has the floor at the moment, it causes deterioration of the team.

This is not rocket science.

If you are only half there at a meeting, you are going to miss something. Or a lot. People who aren’t fully engaged don’t take notice of key comments. They miss nuances of meaning. They might not catch an agreement that‘s made early in the meeting. The others feel insulted and disrespected. They resent the waste of time. As everyone leaves the meeting room they are saying to themselves that once again, this meeting didn’t solve problems—it created them.

OK, so you're on Nantucket and you're day fdreaming about hitting the beach after the meeting... that's one thing. That is a moment. But peeking at the smart phone is more than a day dream, it takes more than a moment, and more concentration. And if everyone at the table, or many at the table are sneaking a look at that smart phone, the issue is multiplied. Nothing good can happen when several brains at the table have gone to another planet.

This isn’t a generational thing. It’s not whether people can use technology—it’s that they shouldn’t be doing it at a meeting unless it’s directly connected with the issue at hand.

If you care about your job, if you care about your career, if you care about your company or you care about your team, you'll care enough to put the smart phone away.


Be in the moment, focus on the moment, and contribute fully - that means 100%!


For more tips on having awesome meetings, download our digital book, "Making Good Meetings GREAT!"