In recent years, people have switched from good old fashioned pens and paper to the more sleek and interesting iPad and smartphone. However, while these items do make taking notes a whole lot easier, they also make it much easier to play Tetris while someone is speaking about something important. Even if you don’t allow people to take notes on these devices, they often still sneak a peek at what’s going on with their Facebook or email anyway. Face it – even though technology has brought us many great things, it’s also brought us a whole lot of disconnect and distraction. So how do you ban technology from a meeting – and actually make sure it stays on the desk and not in a lap instead?

Warn Everyone of the Impending Meeting

Don’t just tell everyone you’re going to have a meeting the morning of and give them fifteen minutes to prepare. If you can, give them at least a few hours, and drop a note in the email you send reminding them that they aren’t to bring their electronics at all for any reason. Reinforce the idea that it’s not okay to text or answer any emails during a meeting.

Give Everyone Ten Minutes

Send out a ten minute warning about the meeting to remind everyone to finish up their conversations. In addition, during the meetings, you can also give everyone a quick minute or two to check their phones, text back their family, or laugh at a great email. This way, everyone’s checking their email at the same time, and there won’t be any bad examples that someone else can follow.

Just Say No

There are exceptions to a banning, but not very many. Double check at the beginning of your meeting that no one has anything that you told them they couldn’t bring. This includes cell phones, iPads, and MP3 players. Start your meeting out with a warning so you give everyone plenty of time to really put their thinking caps on in addition to turning their electronics off.

While electronics are good for many things, they aren’t good for brainstorming. Make sure you give your office ample time and warning to make sure you never hear another phone buzz during a meeting again.