Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m a chronic multi-tasker.  The problem is that I am probably the world’s worst multi-tasker.  Instead of getting multiple things done well or even adequately, I end up doing all tasks poorly.  If you’ve ever been on an audio or web conference with me and heard me lose my thought mid-sentence, say “uh..uh..uh…where was I?”, or respond to a question with “I’m sorry, I missed that, can you repeat that please”, I was probably multi-tasking during our meeting.   Sound familiar to anyone else? Yet, I wouldn’t multi-task if I were in a physical conference room, staring at my colleagues across the table.  Remote meetings are supposed to make an entire organization more productive. In contrast, multi-tasking just makes the entire organization, blah or a monochrome shade of beige. Average.  And we all now what happens to blah and average companies in this economic climate.  In order to ensure my business activities are consistently at a high level I have made a pledge, to stop muli-tasking during remote meetings.  Here are some tips I’m employing in my everyday meeting behavior. Hopefully they’ll help you too:

1. Incorporate both a web and video (webcam) component to a meeting.  The visual added by a webconference is more engaging and forces your participants to stay on the screen of you web meeting. Video is the ultimate accountability companion.  If everyone can see each other, multi-tasking goes way down and participant engagement and participation goes up. It’s that simple.

2. When attending a meeting, close your email program. I know that if an Outlook or gmail pop up comes up during a meeting I just can’t resist.  Remove the temptation.

3. Close or change the status on your IM to “busy”.  I can promise you’re not going to miss anything in the 1 hour you’re in a meeting.  If the meeting is a waste of your time to begin with, don’t attend. The assumption here is that all meetings you’re attending are meetings you need to attend.

4. Ignore your cell phone or second phone line. Hard, I know, but you’ll be better served in the future.

Now for some Do’s:

1. Do set an agenda and lay it out clearly for your participants.

2. Do stick to the alloted time. Start and end on time. Make no exceptions.  Also don’t be afraid to end a meeting early if you’ve accomplished your agenda.  Your meeting reputation grows within your organization. If you’re known for having productive, meaningful meetings you will get more participation and engagement.

3. Do take good notes. Most webconferencing tools have nice notes application right in the interface. You can take notes and email them to yourself for follow-up.

4. Do participate. Again, if you have nothing to add, you probably shouldn’t be there.

And while multi-tasking is a no-no. Attending a remote meeting or webinar in your pajamas is still okay.

About Marc Gutman

Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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