Monday, August 27, 2007

when your audience plugs in

A Microsoft executive spills the beans in yesterday's New York Times about attendees who bring laptops to meetings, detailing the habits of the plugged-in and offering some cautionary tales for speakers and presenters. Among his insights:
-if you're the presenter, be sure your own laptop is in "presentation mode," to avoid getting instant messages for meeting participants, as in this embarrassing example in the article.

-walk around the room to glance at screens of laptop users and decide whether they are topic-related. Then decide: Will you ask people to stop using laptops? Designate a notetaker? Better yet, set the ground rules before the meeting starts.

-ask questions of the attendees, to keep them engaged in the meeting.
He also notes that "our senior management sets a good example in this regard. In meetings, I don’t see Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer doing e-mail — they’re actively engaged, and listening and asking questions." For those of you attending meetings, check out Microsoft's own suggestions around bringing laptops to meetings. Your presenter will thank you.

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