Where I work, most meetings are teleconferences with the participants sitting in their cubes at their computers. The computers seem to make paying attention nearly impossible, whether it’s getting other work done, checking out the stock price, or just cruising the web. Those in the know have learned to state a person’s name before asking a question. Otherwise, the person might not be listening.
Michael Lopp at Rands In Response has the solution:
If you’re in a meeting where you have no role such that you’re tempted to stare at your laptop: stop going. If you’re running a meeting infested with laptops and, after repeated gentle reminders about your no-laptop policy, there are still laptops: remove the laptop offenders from the meeting.
Read the rest of “The Laptop Herring” for more reasons to prohibit laptops, or even better, kill the meeting. I’ve forwarded the URL to my group.