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Submitted by CAshford on


Would y'all comment on something like the Surface Pro 3?   *edited for BLUF*


 I've listened to your pen and paper podcast, and I find that, for me, using a tablet pc (while clunky) that I can write on (inking with OneNote) makes things easy to plan and integrate with email clients, scheduling ect.  The podcast pointed out that electronic devices for note taking, in your example a smartphone, comes off as not working.


Would y'all comment on something like the Surface Pro 3?  As tablets are being used more and more for productive tasks in the workplace has this perception changed, or is the fact that these devices are not phones, and there for don't carry the same stigma of a "Facebook device" like a cellphone would.



I ask because something like a Surface Pro 3 seems to be my answer for something productive to write down notes (again inking with the pen) and I will have one item to carry around as opposed to a laptop, 3 ringed leather planner, ect.



Also, Thankyou for your podcasts... I have a background NOT in the corporate environment and these have been a tremendous help.  Just for reference, I grew up on a ranch, joined the military, and now working as a designer, finishing my engineering degree, and ultimately want to become an executive.




mattpalmer's picture

I've heard Mark and Mike mention a couple of times that they've tried tablets for note taking, and it's "almost there" for them.  As more people gain familiarity and experience using tablets as a useful tool in meetings, they will be seen less as a surreptitious way to check e-mail or Facebook, and more as a useful productivity tool.

I think a good way to demonstrate that you're not checking out of the meeting and playing Angry Birds is to have solid notes of the meeting up and available to everyone (whether that be via e-mail, or posted on a Sharepoint/wiki) very quickly after the meeting.  That will provide evidence both of the tablet's utility in general, and of your responsible use of it.

There's a couple of other things to be aware of.  Firstly, don't "hide" the tablet under the table, or "shield" the screen from view -- leave it flat on the table, or at most have it angled towards you slightly with the stand (for ergonomics).  Appreciate that how you use the device conveys an impression to others, and make sure you're making a positive one.  Second, don't focus on the tablet to the exclusion of the meeting.  If your software requires any sort of sustained concentration to use in the meeting, you're toast.  The first time you miss a question directed to you because you were browsing through menus to make something bold, you'll forever be branded as "that slacker who reads his e-mail on a tablet in meetings".



CAshford's picture
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tedtschopp's picture

I work at a Fortune 200 company, and the higher you go in the organization, the fewer laptops / tablets there are in meetings and the more pens and papers there are. From an effectiveness perspective, when I know that directors or VP's are in the meeting, the pen and pad are the only thing I bring out. The laptop stays in the bag, and the smartphone stays in the pocket.

Ted Tschopp
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cruss's picture
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I had moved to writing on a tablet, with a great stylus and software, for 8 months. I was diligently capturing notes for meetings, projects, and calls into this electronic format. After 8 months I went back to a nice paper notebook (Staples Arc) and pen. Why? Because I realized that I was capturing a lot less than I normally would have on paper. While the combination of the stylus and app that I was using made it almost as easy as paper, that 'almost' was much more important than I thought. I was hesitating to write something down because I would need to open my tablet case, unlock the device, and launch the app. This as opposed to 'open book to page and click pen' meant that I wrote less stuff down. So my attempts at greater efficiency lead to less effectiveness. As they say, it's all about what you are optimizing for.

Canyon R

Gareth's picture

The surface pro 3 is an attractive option combined with the docking solution. Yet I would still hesitate to use it in a meeting and likewise for any other tablet solution. 




bookboss's picture

I have occasionally taken a laptop or my Nexus 7 to meetings and have found the experience underwhelming. Taking notes using a good pen and paper feels more natural because it allows me to avoid all the "software stuff" that Canyon R mentioned above; the device going to sleep, tapping to make changes and edit, typing things in -- it's all too clunky. Maybe someday advancements in software/hardware will make note-taking with tablets seamless, but that time is not here yet. Sellen and Harper's Myth of the Paperless Office is still the on-target in this regard.

When it comes to storage, I usually take iPhone photos of my notes afterward and upload them to Google Drive. That way I can look at them even if I don't have my notebook with me. It takes no more than five minutes, but I've found it to be pretty handy in a pinch.