Are Tablet PCs distracting in meetings?


Eric Mack is still waiting to take possession of his Tablet PC but in his usual fashion he’s wasted no time in evangelizing the platform on his blog, Eric Mack On-Line.  He has been in conversation with Michael Hyatt who recently switched from the Tablet PC to a Mac Powerbook and he’s written an article that addresses some of the reasons that Michael has given for the switch.

One of the statements that caught my eye was the claim that Michael makes that whipping out a Tablet PC in a meeting is often distracting and thus defeats the purpose of using a Tablet in that setting.  It has me thinking about my experience and I have to say quite the opposite is true for me.  I have attended countless meetings where at least one attendant pulls out a laptop and goes through the motions of getting set up for note taking and that is always very distracting.  Then you have the constant clacking of the keys throughout the meeting and it is especially distracting, especially for those sitting near the clacker.  Tablet PCs can be whipped out silently, and after a minute of resuming from Standby can be used like any other note pad of paper.  It’s completely silent operation with ink makes everyone forget about it almost instantly and it’s a non-factor during the meeting.  A notebook computer on the other hand when used in a meeting sets up an effective barrier between the user and the rest of the group and is a definite factor in how the meeting progresses.  I am curious to know what you readers think about this and what is your experience in this regard?


Bob Atkinson

I have had my Motion for about 7 months. At first I was reluctant to use it in meetings for fear of distraction. Now I take it to all of my meetings. Sometimes the “wow factor” kicks in – they want one for themselves! Now, that can only be good for the Tablet PC industry. Mostly when I use it, folks don’t even notice it. It is such a great tool! I’ve used laptops in meetings… it isn’t a pretty sight.


My post-doc research fellow made a snide comment the other day that when I am a meeting/workshop/conference, I am always “scribbling away” on my TC1100 – he says that to others it looks like I am busy taking notes etc on what is being said and don’t look twice … although he knows that I am actually checking my email and playing solitaire etc etc :-) … his contract comes up for renewal in December ….. :-)

Mark Payton

Like you, I find them less distracting that laptops and less of a social barrier to discussion as they don’t stand in the way and are quieter to use.

I have taken my Tablet to every meeting, conference, and user group I have been to in the last two years and never has it been a big distraction during a meeting. I even use it in church and unless the kids I let draw on it get too loud it is no distraction there either.

My own suspicion, totally unfounded on any fact whatsoever, is that the fellow finds them too distracting is himself a part of the problem. Some people really don’t try to be discreet prefering instead to show off their toys and if this is the case then by all means a Tablet will be very distracting.

Comments are closed.