Random thoughts on a variety of subjects
By Sam Redman
The secret for polite texting during business meetings is to use a laptop computer. I have mine equipped with both wifi and an aircard so that I am always online in virtually any business location. Because a laptop is a great tool for taking notes about the ongoing proceedings (lots of people do that) doing other tasks on a portable computer isn’t offensive. I actually use the laptop for looking up information from the web (”Let me google that”) and my own remotely accessed desktop during the meetings and for occasionally for instantly checking a translation when I fumble for the correct word in meetings with French or Spanish speaking participants. Also, while in the meeting I unobtrusively use Yahoo’s popup IM client, which has a very nice SMS (cellphone) texting feature which will track a live ongoing exchange of any texting conversation (incoming and outgoing), which you initiate in that program. If I see a text come on my cellphone and I feel I need to respond, I use the laptop and, if need be, continue the conversation briefly there. This way I am able to participate in the meeting (or conduct it) and do many other tasks without offending the other meeting members. Lots of my texting is actually initiated by me, asking an assistant or an associate to check on information or give an opinion which is needed to right at that moment.
And I don’t mind being public in the NYTimes (this was also posted as a comment to Nytimes article) or anywhere else about my seemingly secretive activities, because I am a continuous proselytizer (an evangelist some would say) for using a connected laptop in business meetings to improve the quality of information and the speed of answering questions which otherwise are met with the old, “I’ll have to research that and get back with you.”
I try to introduce everyone still using old methods to the 21st century (but for some old routines die hard).
— Sam Redman