Notepad or Notepad?

This really happened. A bunch of us were for an important presentation. The other side had not shown up yet. We utilized the time to get the projector ready and beaming the slides on to the white board. Before the other side showed up, our leader gave out an instruction. It was uttered in a tone coated with stress related irritation told us. "Close all laptops except the one we are using for presentation". A very specific instruction, it was.

The leader had a reason. The open laptops eventually leads to divided attention. We ends up checking our emails furtively. This leads to distraction, culminating an awkward situation. We get caught in the middle of the discussion. Everyone expects us to answer a question which we did not hear. Finally, we humbly request to repeat the question. All this could be avoided if we closed that laptop. This is the positive side of this argument. But there is a glitch.

Of late, most of us are transitioning from taking notes down on a traditional notepad to the various notepad-like software available. What happens then? To delve into this, leave aside the moral conundrum about the murder of trees, climatic changes etc. Isn't it better to centralize our notes on the computer? We are carrying a bag which contain the laptop. Why burden it with pens and books resulting you carrying extra weight? These two arguments alone should be sufficient to justify the switch. So, we can't close that laptop anymore. It has to be stay open.

This switch also poses additional challenges. Right from school, we have been taking notes on a traditional notepad. We have learnt to do it in stealth that the speaker's speech is not interrupted. But for writing down notes using a software, we still have not achieved perfection.

How do you keep listening while you are typing notes looking at a screen?
How do you assure the speaker that we are still with him/her and not responding to another email?
How do you give the appearance of "being here" instead of "doing something"?

Tags: Musings,Notepad,Meetings


  1. Agree with you. Opening laptop during presentation leads to distraction. Besides, many a times we are tempted to look at facebook, twitter etc, in addition to office mails. It also reflects a bad manners towards the person who is presenting.

    1. Checking email is bad enough. Checking social network sites is wicked. :)

      But do you see ourselves taking notes on a traditional notepad in the future? I don't see it. I see the traditional notepad becoming obsolete. In such a case, what are the techniques we should learn on how to be attentive while taking notes on a laptop? Is it a shift (whatever adjective you want to put in front of it) for us as well as the presenter?

  2. Yeah are right..this happens ..and becomes hard to give appearance of "being here" instead of "doing something"

    1. In a few years, I guess we will master this technique too. Effectively taking notes on the computer. Coming to think of it, we are able to do this effectively on traditional notepad. But it is difficult to do while using computer. So isn't it a new skill to master? Also in order to master, someone needs to decode this challenge. :)


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