STUDY: More than half secretly multitask during meetings
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Do you secretly multitask during meetings? According to a new survey released by PGi, results showed more than half of the respondents (small-business owners and IT decision-makers) secretly multitask during meetings and only a few admitted to getting “caught” multi-tasking. I’ll admit it, I’m guilty (and based on these results you probably are, too). What does this multi-tasking mean to the success (or not) of said meetings? How engaged are we if we’re constantly doing something else, like checking email.
Overall, the survey showed that business professionals “embrace the ease and freedom provided by virtual meetings,” and are frustrated by less-than-mannerly behaviors in the boardroom or on conference calls. What do less-than-mannerly behaviors look like?
- Engaging in side conversations: 72 percent (IT), 69 percent (SMB)
- Checking personal e-mail: 58 percent (IT), 64 percent (SMB)
- Zoning out: 49 percent (IT), 54 percent (SMB)
- Checking sports scores: 43 percent (IT), 51 percent (SMB)
- Leaving the room: 38 percent (IT), 41 percent (SMB)
I wonder if the number of “multi-tasking” activities during a meeting serves as a pulse to your organization’s level of personal engagement… How “lively” can a meeting be if 50 percent of people are doing something else? If you’re leading a meeting, it’s likely that you’d like full attention. If you’re sitting in a meeting, it’s likely that you want the freedom to multi-task. So, how do you set boundaries or encourage a healthy balance? One way is through setting meeting ground rules all agree to (e.g. no cell phones out). More aggressive–conduct reality check on the structure and use of meetings in your organization. There’s a difference between multi-tasking and completely checking out. You need to find a balance.
Survey respondents also noted that they highly value technology that enables “face-to-face” moments without incurring travel costs. If you’re using virtual meetings to save money and connect, you may want to think about how these meetings take place. Virtual shouldn’t mean a chance to check out and catch up on work. It’s still valuable time and an opportunity to connect with others.
“When you add the visual element to a meeting, you better connect with others and become even more productive,” said PGi CEO and Chairman Boland T. Jones. “A meeting isn’t just a business transaction; it’s an opportunity to establish trust. Technology doesn’t replace relationship building. Technology should support it.”
Do you multitask during meetings? Do you think it’s acceptable?