Simple Tips More Productive Online Meetings

Pre-meeting prep

What is actually necessary?

Run through this quick set of questions to evaluate whether you need to meet in the first place:

  • Does my meeting have a clear purpose/goal?
  • Are collaboration and open discussion essential to achieving my goals?
  • Do I need to discuss complex or sensitive information?

Trim the attendee list

Does everyone on your invite list play an active role in achieving the goal of your meeting? If the purpose is collaboration, try sticking to five to seven people — otherwise, you end up with lots of people on a call but only a few contributing.

Create and circulate an agenda

Agendas help keep the conversation on track and make for more productive meetings. Prepare your agenda well ahead of time and send it to all attendees to allow them to formulate their thoughts and get up to speed on the topic at hand.

Make it the right length

Try to keep meetings to less than 45 minutes, and avoid scheduling meetings back to back to give people time to recover. If you need to go longer than an hour (such as a planning session), account for short breaks so folks can relax and recharge.

In-meeting tips

Start with small talk

Spending a little time to make a personal connection usually results in a more effective meeting. Set the right tone by chatting about the weekend or asking how people are doing before you get down to business.

Be an active facilitator

Give people a reason to turn on their camera by facilitating an active conversation where everyone has a chance to speak. Encourage participation by calling people by name. Switching views frequently, going from screen sharing to gallery view to spotlight, can also help keep attendees’ attention.

Be an engaged attendee

Avoid multitasking or tab surfing so you can be as engaged and involved as possible. Show presenters you’re listening by using meeting reactions. If you don’t want to interrupt, share comments in the in-meeting chat.

Stick to the agenda

When conversation starts to drift, engage in procedural communication to refocus on the goal at hand. Suggest tabling unrelated discussion and following up offline to keep the meeting on track.

Post-meeting follow-up

Send highlights & action items

Leverage meeting recordings, transcripts, and note-taking apps so you can send highlights to all stakeholders. That way, everyone can stay informed without spending their entire day in meetings.

Provide additional opportunities to contribute

When you send around the notes or recordings, ask for additional feedback or contributions. This creates a more inclusive environment for those who don’t feel as comfortable speaking up in the meeting, or for those who weren’t there.

Evaluate & cancel unnecessary meetings

Evaluate meetings, especially standing meetings, after each occurrence to make sure they’re still serving their intended purpose. If not, make them shorter, less frequent, or cancel them altogether.Read more >