Devices Down, Discussion Up, Two Surprises

What? No cell phones? No laptops? No tablet computer to take notes? That's crazy!

Last week we had a two-day off-site strategy meeting. Ten people, two days, lots of SWOTs, bullet points, and discussions. It was a good meeting.

I was amazed at the "no devices" rule.  "No cell phones, no laptops, no tablet computers, no other similar devices."

This caused two surprises:

  1. I'm seriously addicted to my gadgets keeping me up to date with instant messenger, email, Twitter, Yammer, and so on. It was really hard to do without. The breaks, during which we were allowed to connect, were badly needed. Scant consolation that at least seven of the 10 people there had the same addiction. And the distraction is enormous. I realize (confess) that at most meetings I'm often not paying attention, pretending I can listen and read and write, all at the same time. I can't. Neither can you.
  2. Ruling out devices makes for much better meetings and much better discussions.

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