Every month or so, usually when I’m in a meeting with a new team or even with a group of people I’ve been meeting regularly, there’s this one person that will ask me something along the lines of “you are such a digital person doing digital person things, why do you bring a notebook to meetings instead of a laptop?”

This question came up enough times this year that I feel like it’s worth documenting in case I need to come back to it and refine.

So why do I bring a notebook to meetings? 1

To me, meetings should be approached with the intent to listen. There is so much information blasted at us when a person explain even the most trivial thing we heard a billion times: Body language, the way they choose to emphasize certain topic and much more. It’s almost there is so much information going on between the lines than it’s almost equivalent to the one going into the lines themselves so adding whatever information is on a laptop screen (and will surely be there after the meeting is over) is just noise denying me from information I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.

And that just the listening part. If the first part of an intentful meeting is being receptive, the other part is the feedback I’m giving to the other people present which includes all the social gestures and nuances of doing what what our brain has adapted to in millions of years - reading and processing social experiences in real time.

The notebook is there rarely as a note taking tool, even though I’ll sometime use it as such, but as a way to open up the space in front of me, have more visual space and show that I’m fully attentive and receptive to other people. Being “the digital person doing digital person things”, a fair share of my day is indeed spent in front of a computer so if I am given the opportunity to be social IRL - I might as well take it with both hands.

  1. Obviously if I need to present \ demo \ prototype a thing I’ll definitely bring a laptop to a meeting. 

Post cover image by Green Chameleon

#retro is all about my post-processed thoughts on product management and often triggered by work related events. Opinions are my own and does not represent my past or current employers.

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