We’ve all been there. You sit in online meetings, trying to focus on the discussion at hand. But somehow, your mind starts to wander. Maybe you start scrolling through your Facebook feed or checking Twitter. Or maybe you zone out completely and start thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch.
It’s not surprising that we often find online meetings less than engaging. After all, it’s hard to focus when you’re staring at a screen and not being able to see the facial expressions or body language of the people you’re talking to.
13 Reasons we dislike online meetings
But there are ways to make online meetings more engaging for everyone involved. This article will share 13 reasons we dislike online meetings and what you can do about them.
1. People can’t build rapport with each other in person
One of the biggest drawbacks of online meetings is that there’s no physical interaction. This lack of physical interaction can make it difficult for people to build rapport. Although there are ways to offset this by using video conferencing, it’s not always possible or practical because not everyone has access to a webcam or might not be comfortable using one. Moreover, you may not get high-quality video if the connection is poor.
2. It’s easy to get distracted
When you’re in an online meeting, it’s easy to get distracted by other things going on around you. Maybe you start browsing the internet or checking your email. Or maybe you tune out completely and start thinking about something else entirely. Either way, it’s hard to focus when you’re not in the same room as the other people you’re talking to.
3. You can’t read body language
Another downside of online meetings is that you can’t see the body language of the people you’re talking to. This makes it difficult to gauge how they feel about what’s being discussed. Are they interested? Bored? Confused? It’s hard to tell when you can’t read their body language.
4. There’s no opportunity for small talk
One of the best things about in-person meetings is that they allow people to socialize and get to know each other better. But in an online meeting, there’s no opportunity for small talk. This can make the meeting feel more like a task to be completed rather than a chance to connect with others.
5. You can’t easily break into groups
In an online meeting, it’s difficult to break into smaller groups for discussion or brainstorming. This can limit the amount of interaction and collaboration that takes place. It also makes it harder for people to get to know each other better. Although there are some ways to overcome this, such as using breakout rooms in video conferencing software, it’s not always possible or practical.
6. There can be technical difficulties
Online meetings can be plagued by technical difficulties, such as connection issues, audio problems, and screen sharing issues. These problems can make it difficult to focus on the discussion and make the meeting less productive.
7. They can be time-consuming
Another downside of online meetings is that they can be time-consuming. If the meeting is scheduled for an hour, it can often run over because of technical difficulties or because people are having difficulty communicating with each other. If they’re not well-planned or managed, online meetings can easily become a waste of time. This is why it’s important to have a clear purpose for the meeting and ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them. It’s also crucial to have a meeting moderator who can keep the discussion on track and make sure that everyone is participating.
8. Some people prefer not to use video
Although video conferencing can help make online meetings more engaging, some people prefer not to use it. Maybe they don’t have a webcam, or they’re not comfortable being on camera. Whatever the reason, not everyone is interested in using video conferencing for online meetings.
9. Online meetings can be draining
Online meetings can be draining, both mentally and emotionally. They can be repetitive and monotonous, especially if they’re long or poorly planned. And because you’re staring at a screen, they can be physically tiring. If you’ve ever been in an online meeting that felt like it was going on forever, you’re not alone. This is because it’s easy for people to tune out when they’re not physically present in the room.
10. It’s hard to follow what’s going on when people are talking over video or audio
When people talk over video or audio, it can be challenging to follow what’s going on. This is especially true if you’re not used to participating in online meetings. It can be helpful to have someone act as a meeting moderator to track who is talking and make sure everyone can hear what’s being said.
11. Background noise and distractions are common
It’s common for there to be background noise and distractions in online meetings. This can be anything from people talking in the background to computer sounds. This can make it difficult to hear what other people are saying and lead to people getting distracted.
12. They’re often scheduled at inconvenient times for people in different time zones
Online meetings are often scheduled at inconvenient times for people in different time zones. This can make it difficult for people to participate in the meeting because it’s happening during work hours or in the middle of the night. It can also be difficult to find a time that works for everyone.
13. Too many meetings
We’ve all been in too many online meetings. And sometimes, it just feels like too much. Meeting fatigue is the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted after attending or participating in many meetings. If you’re feeling meeting fatigue, it’s important to take a step back and assess your meeting schedule. See if there are any meetings that you can eliminate or consolidate. Also, make sure that you’re taking breaks between meetings and getting enough rest.
While online meetings have some disadvantages, several advantages make them worth considering. Online meetings can be a great way to connect with people from all over the world, they can be more convenient and less expensive than in-person meetings, and they offer a great way to stay connected with colleagues, clients, and customers in the customer journey.
Tips to make online meetings more engaging
So what can we do to make online meetings more engaging? Here are a few tips:
Use video instead of audio
If possible, use video instead of audio for online meetings. This will help eliminate distractions and make it easier to follow what’s going on.
Appoint a meeting moderator
If you’re having trouble keeping everyone on track, appoint a meeting moderator. The moderator can keep track of who is talking and ensure everyone can hear what’s being said.
Schedule meetings in advance
Schedule meetings in advance so that people have time to prepare for them. This will help to offset any disruptions that might occur.
Make sure there’s an agenda
Before the meeting, make sure there’s an agenda that everyone is aware of. This will help keep the discussion on track and prevent people from talking about things that aren’t relevant.
Take breaks during the meeting or keep the meeting shorter. It’s also important to make sure that you’re getting enough rest and exercise outside of work so that you have the energy to participate in online meetings. If the meeting is getting long, take a break to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs or grab a coffee. This will help keep people from getting too tired and allow them to focus on the discussion when they return.
Use a chat tool to keep the conversation flowing
If people are getting interrupted or having trouble continuing the conversation after someone has been cut off, use a chat tool to keep the conversation flowing. This will allow everyone to contribute to the discussion.
When you’re in an online meeting, avoid distractions like checking your email or browsing the internet. Reduce distractions by turning off notifications during the meeting. This will help you pay attention to the discussion and prevent you from missing anything important.
Try to schedule meetings at times that are convenient for everyone
When you’re scheduling an online meeting, try to schedule it at a convenient time for everyone. This will help ensure that everyone can participate in the meeting and prevent people from feeling like they’re being left out.
Make sure everyone knows how to use the software
If you’re using a new conferencing software, ensure everyone knows how to use it before the meeting starts. This will help prevent any disruptions during the meeting.
End the meeting on time
It’s important to end the meeting on time so that everyone can get back to their work. This will help avoid any frustration that people might feel if the meeting goes over its allotted time.
You can make online meetings more engaging and productive by following these tips. After every meeting, take some time to evaluate how it went. This includes asking for feedback from participants and making changes so that you can improve future meetings. Additionally, not every meeting needs to be held online. Sometimes, an in-person meeting is more beneficial. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your team or organization.
Author bio: Amrapali is a freelance SEO strategist and content writer who works with brands and SaaS companies to support their SEO and content writing efforts and blogs about technology and marketing at Bazaar Expert.