Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 22 2015

It’s Time To Transform Your Relationship With Technology

David McMillin

Smart watches, smartphones, smart everything — the mile-long list of devices designed to help us stay connected will continue to grow in 2016. For meeting professionals, the expanding capabilities of all these new tools can feel very empowering. From updating registration to managing housing blocks to arranging vendor appointments, technology can create opportunities to check off to-dos while on-the-go.

“It’s clear that we can be vastly more productive because of our technology,” Leena Rinne, co-author of the acclaimed book “The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity” and international business consultant at FranklinCovey says. “We can be plugged in all the time. We can respond to email on the train, and we can manage our projects from anywhere in the world at anytime.”

However, Rinne warns that being plugged in doesn’t necessarily equate to being productive.

“All our technology has big potential, but we’re getting so much information that it’s difficult for us to determine what’s truly important,” Rinne says. “It’s not about having more technology. It’s about figuring out a smart way to integrate technology into our lives to make them better.”

Setting Some Boundaries

With email after email and chat after chat arriving on multiple devices, how will you find the time to make decisions and prioritize your responsibilities? Rinne says it’s all starts with taking a personal inventory of your approach to technology.

“No one is going to create boundaries for you,” Rinne says. “You have to outline your own strategy for dealing with the daily overload of data.”

From closing Outlook for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to disabling push notifications from certain mobile apps, Rinne highlights a number of opportunities to slow the frantic pace of read-and-respond.

“We see so many people trying to linearly process a massive volume of information,” Rinne says. “By the end of the day, they’re completely exhausted. These boundaries can help you feel better while working more effectively.”

Learning To Say No

In addition setting boundaries, Rinne highlights the importance of knowing when to avoid a to-do item altogether. For example, while it might be tempting to reply ‘Yes’ to every appointment request, the reality is that you probably don’t need to participate in every meeting that pops up at work. What happens when ‘No’ isn’t part of your vocabulary?

“The biggest risk is getting so caught up in your time behind a screen or sitting in a meeting that you never make it to what really matters,” Rinne says. “We all need to make choices that allow us to dedicate energy to the meaningful things that make our lives richer and let us contribute more value to our organizations, to our families and to ourselves.”

More Coaching For Your Own Choices

In January, Rinne will offer more insights to help meeting professionals and suppliers better manage their decision-making skills, attention and energy at Convening Leaders. Mark your calendar for her session “The 5 Choices To Extraordinary Productivity” on Monday, January 11 from 10:30 - 11:30 AM. Looking to get a head start on being extraordinary in 2016? Here’s some reading material for your travels.

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