The Fruit Bowl At Meetings

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What is a fruit bowl?
  • Why should electronics be banned in meetings?
  • How do I reinforce the behaviors I want?

This guidance describes how to use a "Fruit Bowl" to eliminate cell phone distractions at meetings.

If there is a dichotomy about business behaviors based on age - and we don't believe there is - the one place Mark would expect folks to cite as proof of it is the use of digital devices. We don't think this means anything about the different age groups. If you are still forming your habits when you get a cell phone and a laptop, there's a greater likelihood that you'll incorporate those devices into your habitual daily life more readily and frequently than someone who had already established their habits when those devices became ubiquitous.

And when Facebook comes to your phone well, it gets worse. ;-)

But constant device usage doesn't necessarily follow inexorably from ubiquity. And in meetings, devices are counter-productive.

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Hi guys, I could not agree more. I manage a group of about 40 people. In the past 3 months I have enforced healthier meeting habits and everyone is doing a great job now (and giving me feedback about what a great improvement this has been).

The only outlier is my boss. I hear your advice about letting it go but it is so disruptive; it's not just that they disrupt the meeting, but at this point I am embarrassed FOR them since they are the only person behaving this way. The key behaviors that are disruptive are a) playing with phone b) leaving phone to ring at loudest possible configuration c) picking up the phone and starting a call -- all while a meeting is happening.

I've influenced everyone else's behavior so the setting is now conducive to the good behavior. I've given direct feedback (yes, I know you also advise against that, but I decided to take the risk), is there anything else I could do?

I wondered if I am just being annoyed by this and need to let this go, but ultimately I can't because the problem is not that it annoys me, it's that I really feel like it's damaging my boss' image and by consequence the impression of our department. I don't know how else to make that explicit for them. Any advice is much appreciated.