Online meetings: tips to keep up with it

Tired of online meetings? Take a good look at your online meeting habits and impose some 'meeting discipline' on yourself. Exact gives you tips.

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Online meetings: tips to keep up with it

We all recognize that online meetings can be very intensive and tiring. This is because it takes much more effort to see the big picture. Picking up non-verbal communication requires much more concentration and the part of your brain where the visual attention is located is extremely strained with video conferencing. In addition, it seems like there are more meetings because it is so easy to schedule a meeting now, everyone is at home and therefore available. And so your agenda fills up much faster than before. That this is not healthy was demonstrated earlier this month by an American study that shows that the number of traffic deaths has risen sharply over the past year due to concentration problems caused by video conferencing.

In short, it’s time to take a good look at your online meeting habits and impose some ‘meeting discipline’ on yourself. Exact has 7 tips for you!

1. Have a goal-oriented agenda

If everyone knows in time what the goals of the meeting are, the participants will prepare themselves and the energy will focus more on that. So draw up an agenda in advance and indicate for each item on the agenda what the desired result is. For example, exchanging ideas, providing information, devising solutions, drawing up an action plan, etc. Put the most important points at the top so that they will be discussed. And make sure you have a knowledgeable chairperson who monitors the content and time.

2. Go for a walk (or stand)

Is it necessary to have a video conference or can it also be done over the phone or via Facetime? In that case you can take a nice walk while you deliberate. That way you get outside and don’t tire yourself out staring at your screen. Colleague in the neighborhood? Then a joint walk (at a distance) is highly recommended. Walking not an option? Then do the meeting standing up. Better for your health and better for your commitment.

3. Build in meeting time

Everyone in your company has to deal with it,, so make it discussable and spare each other by making agreements. For example, about:

  • meetingless parts of the day or a meetingless day;
  • fixed lunch and other breaks when no meetings are scheduled;
  • fixed blocks in the week for working on individual priorities.

If there is no basis for this, plan non-meeting time for yourself by blocking time in your agenda for your own projects and thus making yourself unavailable for meetings.

4. Meet with fewer people

The most productive meetings have 5 to 9 participants, according to professor Robert Sutton. By inviting only the key people you prevent the group from getting too big and people from getting overloaded. About online meetings, experts even say that seven people is the max to allow everyone to play a meaningful role. With more people, it becomes even more difficult to pick up all the signals and let everyone have a say. Plus, it’s easier to lose your commitment and get busy with other things. Before you know it, you’ll be that tuned-out colleague who is emailing on his phone in the meantime.

5. Start with something striking

Start a meeting with something unexpected. Have everyone briefly say how their mood is or what their highlight of the day/week so far has been. A good mindset (and insight with those who may be less so) ensures a good atmosphere and a better result.

6. Don’t accept invitations blindly

You can also limit the number of meetings for yourself by being a bit more critical in your acceptance policy. Check whether your presence is really necessary by asking the following questions:

  • Is it interesting for me?
  • Do I have something to contribute?
  • Does it affect my own work?
  • Does this consultation contribute to the organizational goals?

In other words, be critical, don’t make yourself too important and trust that your colleagues will also come up with a good outcome without you. Your profit? More time to get going with your own action list.

7. Build in breaks

Plan breaks between online meetings so that you can get away from the screen and are not constantly in a meeting. You can also do this by adding a quarter of an hour to your agenda, this will prevent you from being overrun by others.

8. Plan shorter meetings (in the afternoon)

Meetings that are too long rarely lead to better results, especially with video conferencing. So don’t make online meetings too long. 45-60 minutes is fine, longer is not. Then it’s better to cut a meeting into 2 shorter meetings. It is also useful to schedule consultations at the end of the day (say 16.00). Then you have the mornings for concentration chores and everyone is motivated to finish within the time frame, which increases efficiency.

And what about your online meeting discipline? Is there still something to be gained or do you already apply all the tips? If you have additional tips then we would love to hear from you. Because together we know more. For now, hang in there and keep the spirit high!

Sources: Bright videos,,,,,

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