Close your laptop lid
Don’t take out your phone
Either you need to be in this meeting or you don’t. If you need to attend then be present, if you don’t then DO NOT GO. Seriously, have the balls to say I should not attend your meeting because it does not effect me, because I do not know anything about the topic, or most importantly because this topic is not a priority for me… If you do attend then have the respect for the people presenting to give them your full attention. There is no excuse. I am tired of hearing well I don’t really need to be there for the whole meeting, tough, show me you have the mental discipline to stay focused on the conversation for the whole meeting.
OK so I understand this is actually hard. I understand your subconscious is telling you to save time by doing your email in the meeting. It is saying you can multi-task. The truth is you can’t. This is merely the pleasure center of your brain working over time to convince you the activity that will most stimulate that same pleasure center is the best activity for you to engage in during the meeting, that is called addiction.
Just like an addiction your subconscious is saying its OK to do the thing that makes you feel good, email. It is not. Everyone in the meeting who has a say in your next raise or promotion thinks you are rude and undisciplined and therefor clearly not ready for the next level.
On top of that, it is expensive for you to attend this meeting and by not paying attention you are reducing the value of everyone else attending the meeting. How much value are you costing the company? Take your annual salary, divide by 2000 to get your hourly rate. Take 80% of that number as the wasted value of your time, in other words you would be 80% more effective if you either focused on the meeting or did not attend. Now assume you are distracting everyone else by 10% so for every 10 people add one hour of your wages. In other words when you are in a meeting with 3 other people you are adding negative value to the company. That means they would be better off firing you than letting you sit in the meeting and do email. Be present.
Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…
What is really hard to value is how often if you were paying attention would you come up with a really great idea? Its not that often I will admit but 3 of the 4 greatest ideas I had in my career, the ones that got me big promotions, all came when I was really present in meetings and I came to understand a part of the problem that I was historically blind to because I did not normally talk with these individuals about this topic. If you want to get promoted, stop being weak, lower your shields, close the lid on your laptop, leave the phone in your pocket, be disciplined and add value to the company.