6 Tips for Leading Smarter Team Virtual Meetings

leading smarter virtual meetings

Well folks, It’s been over a year since the world ‘went all remote’ and our virtual meetings majorly replaced our physical ones.


While we’re lucky to (still) be able to regularly see our colleagues despite office lockdowns, thanks to video conferencing technology, the term ‘Zoom fatigue’ was coined for a reason.


In this blog post we’ll show you 6 proven ways to make your virtual meetings more time (and cost) effective, increase meeting productivity and reduce fatigue

6 Tips for better virtual meetings that work:

Stick an 'online meeting timer' on it

How long is too long for a virtual meeting?

 There’s no ‘one-for-all’ answer to this — but there’s one criteria that fits all organisations: How time-optimised is a meeting to serve its purpose?

While virtual meetings are an important part of how we work — not all meetings are productive. Likewise, not all long meetings need to drag on for that long.


‘’Organisations can liberate at least 20% of their collective hours by bringing greater discipline to time management’’ Harvard Business Review


THE FIX: Add an online meeting timer to your meetings to track time spent, assign speaking slots to each participant and limit off-topic discussions.

It’s like having a clock on the wall of your virtual meeting room — everyone gets that consistent reminder that the clock is spinning.

Prepare your 'Agenda Timer'

According to The Balance Careers, organisations can reduce meeting time by 80% by following a structured agenda.  So here’s our golden recipe for this:
  1. Before every session prepare an agenda for the topics to be discussed. 

  2. Then prepare a corresponding list of who will be presenting each topic, in chronological order. 

  3. Finally, assign a time slot for each — Easy Peasy!

One final tip: Make sure the agenda is clear and selective to cut through irrelevant noise.  This will also prompt speakers to well-prepare ahead of meetings and help you lead more focused and concise meetings.

Calculate the ‘Online Meeting Cost’ involved

How much are online meetings costing your organization?

Middle managers spend 35% of their time in meetings and upper management spend 50% of their time in meetings. If we translate that into salary per hour/ per employee, we’ll see the huge expenses companies incur for meetings.

 Also, 67% of employees complain that spending too much time in meetings hinders them from being productive at work. That’s why online meetings need to be equally productive, cost efficient and factor in the cost formula above while the clock is rolling!

Use your Inbuilt Meeting Tools

Between muting and unmuting, taking notes and getting suddenly hit by the muse, we sometimes forget to use Inbuilt platform tools like meeting Chat, background noise-cancellation, etc.    These tools are there to improve the efficiency and flow of our meetings. Use them more often and encourage participants to use them too.   For example, a raised hand is a great alternative to cutting off a speaker. Using chat for brainstorming and tracking meeting minutes can also improve meeting flow and outcome. Let’s not forget about meeting audio/ video quality.   

We’re all familiar with the ‘’I can’t hear you, Can you hear me?’’ mantra and frankly this one may as well be the top catalyst for Zoom fatigue.

  Technical issues are a pain and sometimes there isn’t much we can do, here two steps participants can take before meetings start to limit them a bit:  
  • Always test microphones and headsets beforehand, charge wireless earphones, etc.

  • Ensure their internet connection is strong enough for video and run the meeting quality check tool available in your chosen conferencing platform.

Less is more, sometimes

How many participants should be in a single Meeting?

Wall Street Journal reported that 73% of virtual meetings have between two and four people. This indicates favour to smaller meetings.


Meetings with many participants may seem more convenient to ‘keep everyone in the loop’ — But sometimes this can be better done by sending out meeting minutes afterwards to ‘indirectly involved’ parties.


In fact, a survey suggests that 92% of employees find themselves multitasking during meetings. This parallel processing limits the effectiveness of meeting time, so organizations end up having more meetings to get the work done.


How many topics should be covered in one meeting?

Also, trying to cover as many topics as possible in one meeting can incredibly lengthen meeting duration and decrease productivity as everyone is just too exhausted towards the end.


Rules of thumb: 

  • Break multiple topics into smaller meetings to make them more easily digestible. 

  • Limit meeting participants to those who REALLY need to be there. 

  • Send out meeting minutes or recordings afterwards to other ‘indirectly involved’ parties.

This will also help you dramatically cut through meeting cost and noise.


Re-evaluate your Meeting’s Purpose


Finally, remember, it’s important not to conduct meetings just for the sake of them — a common mistake many make.


Ensure that your meeting’s purpose warrants a meeting and can’t be otherwise covered in an email or a recording. That way you’ll better ensure that there’s no squandered time there.



Closing thoughts

Well my friends, it looks like virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere (even in the post-pandemic era), just like remote work.


With that, future meetings are likely to blend in-person and virtual participation, and for that we all need to be better prepared for leading smarter sessions.



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