Again and again, I hear folks talk about the “cell phone basket” at meetings, where everybody drops their little piece of electronic addiction into a basket so that they can focus on the task at hand. Except, it’s ridiculous to blame technology for the core problem: meetings that aren’t engaging. What’s next, taking away people’s paper note pads so they don’t doodle?
The basket seeks to place handcuffs in the name of fellowship. Why would you want that?
If we want people to be engaged at meetings, how about being engaging?
Make meetings interactive.
Ask, don’t tell.
Invite the minimum number of people required.
Defer conversations & subjects that only a minority are interested in.
Seek cooperation, not compliance.
Deal with “rabbit trail” discussions another time.
Seek some agreement or answers prior to the meeting.
Solve problems as much as possible without a meeting.
Make as many decisions as you can without a meeting.
Cancel meetings that have become irrelevant or less useful.
Do all that, and if you still have a problem where people are floating away on their mobile phones, you can get out the basket. But I guarantee you that if you do all that, you won’t have to.