Smile you’re on candid camera … The use of digital recordings in meetings

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Recording technology is ubiquitous. We see the results of this daily on the news where a citizen records an impromptu mugging on their phone and the perpetrator’s picture ends up on the evening news. Should anyone expect less exposure today in the boardroom? Into today’s corporate meetings almost everyone carries a recording capable device; Smartphone, Tablet, Mac or PC. Software such as Microsoft OneNote makes it easy for anyone to both take meeting notes and conveniently have a complete audio/video record of the discussion synchronized with the notes.  In fact, everything that was said , by whom and when.

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Muggings occur every day. Some of these occur on the street and some of these occur in the corporate boardroom. There is no better evidence than a recording of the event to bring transparency and clarity but… can or should you use it?

Let’s think of a hypothetical meeting where the result of the meeting at its conclusion was described by both parties as “highly successful” and that an “agreement has been reached”. Now suppose that days later one of the parties now claims to have been proverbially “mugged” in the same meeting by the other party and uses this context to back out of the agreement.  Now let’s further assume there were multiple digital records of that meeting to review and see of the alleged activity actually took place and if the complaint is valid.

There are significant question about the records.

Can or should we as consultants a) collect this information and b) use this type of information to promote retrospective clarity and understanding? Is it now a reality of today that we should expect and perhaps promote that a complete record with non-repudiation as a foundation to every meeting?

When you say it or do it, expect it to be recorded verbatim and expect the recording to be used to promote understanding and clarity on review.

Is the new technology just a better replacement for meeting minutes? It is perhaps old-fashioned of me but I think the non-repudiation principle is ultimately right. Audio and video recordings of meetings are a reality of today’s technology, we should expect it, use it and embrace it to facilitate communication with and for our clients, clear-up misconceptions and treat it as a valuable benefit of the technology. Perhaps with one caveat “Just to let you know, I am using OneNote for this meeting. Please let me know later if you would like a link to it for your records and future reference.”

It’s still however a grey area globally …

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