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How to use multitasking gestures on the iPad for optimal meeting productivity.

In the old days we used to go into a meeting with a bag full of equipment. Of course there was the pad of paper, a pen or maybe a few pens of different colours, a sheet of paper with the agenda and our diary at a minimum. Then there was all of the optional equipment like a folder of documents relevant to the meeting, a calculator, maybe next year's diary if you were near the end of the year and any number of other bits and pieces.

Once you were in the meeting you'd prepare by spreading out the equipment in front of you and organising it all so that it was readily to hand during the meeting. You didn't want to be the person who had to go digging in your bag when it was time to organise the next meeting muttering things like, "I've got my diary in here somewhere".

In order to be properly present in a meeting it is important to ensure that your equipment is organised. Then your equipment supports you in your task rather than hindering you. If you are constantly shuffling between pages or items and unable to find them easily then you are distracted from listening to what people are saying.

Now you are using your iPad in meetings you still need to prepare properly.

Organising yourself at the start of a meeting and being able to lay your hands on the right bit of information or functionality at any time is just as important now that you are using your iPad in meetings instead of all of that other paraphernalia. Just because the functionality is in one device doesn't mean that you shouldn't prepare properly. The apps I typically have open during a meeting are Meeting Gold for note taking including capturing actions, calendar, calculator, Pages, Numbers and Safari. You'll certainly want to have a note taking app, something for capturing actions directly into your todo list, calendar, and any other apps you may find useful.

In order to efficiently shuffle between information and equipment during a meeting you need to do two things: 1. Open the apps you will need at the right place before you start the meeting. 2. Master the multitasking gestures on the iPad to enable you to move quickly and confidently between apps. 

Opening apps at the right place is very straight forward. Just open them, ideally in the reverse order that you need them, and for each one while you have it open go to the view that you are most likely to need first. Preparing your apps in this way should take no more than about 30 seconds. Doing this sets you up for the most efficient way to switch between apps while in a meeting. 

You don't want to be constantly hitting the home button and then scrolling through screens of app icons to open the app that you had open just a moment ago. Also, if you go via the home button you are vulnerable to getting diverted by notifications on distraction apps like email, Facebook and Twitter; all of which are time and attention vampires. 

There are just two multitasking gestures that you need to learn.

There are just two multitasking gestures that you need to learn. Both use four or five fingers on the screen (whichever you feel most comfortable with). 

Before you start using multitasking gestures you need to check in the iPad settings app under the 'general' section that multitasking gestures are switched on. 

The first gesture to learn is the swipe up. Put four or five fingers on the screen and swipe upwards. This will show the most recently used apps. Tap the one you want and it should open where you last used it. Typically in a meeting you might use four or five apps so the apps that you need will appear at the bottom of the screen when you swipe upwards. It's a much faster way to switch between apps than going via the home button and finding the app. 

An even faster way to switch between apps is to four or five finger swipe to the left or right. This will move you to the next or previous app in the list. It is particularly fast if you are shuttling between two apps.

When you start to work like this (preparing apps in advance and using multitasking gestures) you'll find that you'll be more present in meetings and less distracted by your technology. You also won't be that person muttering, "hold on. I'm sure I had that here somewhere." 


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Reader Comments (1)

I agree that as much as all the inconvenience that past meetings used to bring have now been largely eliminated, preparation is till key and although in smaller, more organisable forms, it is still important.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIT Rentals

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