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Cellphone distractions make mockery of meetings

Cellphone distractions make mockery of meetings
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Cellphone distractions make mockery of meetings.Go into any meeting and you’ll see the same thing: people surreptitiously checking their devices.

Go into any meeting and you’ll see the same thing: people surreptitiously checking their devices. Lakhs of rupees are spent in planning meetings, but mobile phone distractions make a mockery of meetings in India, observed Mike van der Vijver and Eric de Groot, experts and renowned consultants on meeting design. The duo was speaking on the usage of technology in conducting meetings at a two day Meeting Design Workshop, which concluded on Friday at Indian School of Business.

“In a generation of gadget addicted executives who text in meetings and sneak off to the toilet to check Facebook is now a big menace. Though 90 per cent of phone calls can be handled later and are of no big consequence to business and personal life, still people get disturbed and also annoy other participants,” said Vijver.

“So what are the ways out? A few years ago, we used to have a practice called ‘topless meeting’. These are such meetings at which laptops were not allowed. The idea was to keep people from doing other work while in a meeting,” said Eric.

Eric elaborated, “Meeting owners or designers must plan ‘Mobile Phone Breaks’ rather than ‘Tea Breaks’ as has been the normal practice. Tea can be served inside the meeting, but phones cannot be answered in the meeting hall. Many people suffer from mobile addiction. If they don’t get messages, they panic. So mobile phone breaks are more necessary.”

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