During the Covid pandemic, businesses and individuals were on the hunt for the ideal platform for virtual meetings. TrustRadius reported a 500% increase in searches for web conferencing tools from February to April 2020. Many people chose Zoom, while others preferred Microsoft Teams or Skype.

Now, most of us are used to having meetings via screens, and phrases like “You’re on mute” have become part of our daily language. But this doesn’t mean we’ve mastered the art of efficient virtual meetings. We’re still figuring it out, even after a year.

Virtual meetings can easily become unproductive, just like in-person ones. To save time each week, try these strategies for all your video meetings:

1. Create meeting agendas: Going into a meeting without an agenda is like trying to make a movie without a script. It’s chaotic and unproductive. Instead, prepare and share agendas for every meeting, even brief ones. Use a template to help design them. Agendas help guide the conversation and serve as a record of what was discussed.

2. Request RSVPs: Confirm attendance by following up with participants before the meeting. This reminder can be a simple text or email. Some software allows you to schedule reminders automatically.

3. Encourage everyone to participate: Don’t overlook quiet team members. Encourage everyone to share their thoughts by directly asking for their input.

4. Be open to canceling meetings: If a meeting isn’t necessary, don’t hesitate to cancel it. Your team will likely appreciate the honesty and the saved time.

5. Schedule meetings at convenient times: Before setting a long meeting, check with attendees to ensure they can fully participate. If not, consider breaking the meeting into shorter segments.

6. Let people leave early if needed: Organize your agenda so that not everyone needs to stay for the entire meeting. Allow people to leave once their relevant part is over.

7. Keep meetings under an hour: People’s attention spans are limited, especially online. Evaluate whether your meetings really need to last a full hour; many can be shorter.

8. Consider if a meeting is necessary: Sometimes, a phone call or a quick video chat can replace a full meeting. Assess the need for a meeting before scheduling one.

By making these adjustments, you can lead more efficient virtual meetings, reduce Zoom fatigue, and improve productivity.

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