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Howard Gardner
Scholar

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Pocketing the Blackberry

In the era of email, I ask if an in- person meeting is necessary or whether the business can be handled by email. Surprisingly often, email suffices. Of course, I attend meetings where the goals are substantive, I want or need to be present, and the goals cannot be accomplished in any other way.

The one informative exception occurs in the case of meetings where my input may not be needed or wanted but my presence in symbolically important (e.g. welcoming a new member of a team or honoring a colleague or hearing the first presentation by a new manager). In such cases I attend the entire meeting, if at all possible, sit in a visible spot, and refrain from any competing activity, such as leafing through papers or consulting my Blackberry. In so doing I am signaling to all that if a meeting is merited, it should demand the complete attention of all present.

By Howard Gardner

 |  October 6, 2009; 6:44 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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That's just common courtesy. If the meeting is worth attending, demand the team to show some respect and eliminate diversions.

Posted by: Lulu12 | October 6, 2009 11:06 AM
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Every meeting organizer thinks their reason for meeting is compelling. Participants who spend meeting time using a Blackberry or doing email on a laptop are simply sending the meeting organizer feedback on how compelling the meeting content is.

Posted by: ArundoDonax | October 6, 2009 10:04 AM
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Agree completely. It's up to the senior person in the room to set the example or rule. Humiliate the violators if need be.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 6, 2009 7:50 AM
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