Randy Murray writing about why he doesn’t like to use technology in meetings:
It’s tempting to recreate your desktop productivity system there on the conference table, but it just gets in the way. With a set of simple tools I can listen to, capture ideas from, and make a personal connection with my customers. And they respond to that. They see that I’m interested in their stories. The effect of seeing someone physically write a note is warm and personal, not cool and clinical like typing on a keyboard. This reinforces the connection. I get people to open up and tell stories that they typically wouldn’t in a business session.
This is interesting, but I have to respectfully disagree with Murray here and I think it comes down to the environment that you work in. In my life pulling out my iPad at meetings conveys who I am and what my company is all about. My company is always on for edge of new technologies and we market ourselves as such. I want my clients to know that with my company they are getting a company that is not stuck with paper and pens, but a company that will email you a copy of the meeting notes before you leave the room.
I can see how technology might make someone pause, but I usually only see that when you are using a screen as a screen. That is: if you have something propped up in front of you, then you are stifling conversation. I get that people type better and faster with bluetooth keyboards or laptops or keyboard docks for their devices, but I urge you: get an iPad and use the onscreen keyboard, it opens up the space and keeps the conversation on the conversation and not on your tools.
(One last note: I am not anti-pen and paper in meetings. I am anti-having to transcribe notes from paper to digital. Scanning is not a solution to that problem — all notes should be searchable and archivable and backed-up-able.)