What’s your blackberry doing in this meeting?

Ever found yourself sneaking a peek at your blackberry under the table during a meeting? (Or even thumb-typing away openly?) Are you experiencing an emergency – are your messages so urgent that they can’t wait until the meeting ends? My guess is you’re not in a crisis, you’re bored. Your time is being wasted here. The content of the meeting isn’t directly relevant to your work, or you’ve read the pre-read and now you’re sitting through the presentation anyway, or the discussion goes around in circles. Your emails seem more interesting right now, and maybe you can actually get some work done.

We see teams try to limit blackberry use in meetings through “ground rules”, and some even impose “fines” – pay a dollar each time you use it. (So now you have permission, it’s only a dollar to look at the next message – a steal!) Instead of fixing the symptom, why not fix the problem? If people are whipping out their blackberries in a meeting, they’re not on the edge of their seat with passionate interest in the discussion. The tough question is: why not, and what can you do about it?