Last week, we started the conversation about overcoming online meeting fatigue. Although online meetings can be a great way to connect with people in multiple places and can be an efficient way to work together, they can also create weariness and exhaustion. Rather than letting our calendars continue to be overloaded with meetings that we may not even need to attend, we have to be mindful, thoughtful and strategic about the meetings we both host and attend. Join me this week as we highlight three questions to ask that will help you overcome online meeting fatigue.
Does it need to be a meeting?
Consider your purpose. If you are sharing information or giving an update, you may only need to send an email (or two). However, there are times when a meeting update can help folks reconnect if they are not reading their emails. 🙂 One of the benefits of online meeting software is the ability to record yourself – or others about a topic. For instance, I recently needed to train several team members on how to use a specific tool. Rather than trying to find a time that works for everyone’s schedule, I opened up a Zoom meeting, hit record, shared my screen and showed them how to do it. The video was about 2.5 minutes long and I was able to share it with the people who needed it via email. If I had tried to schedule a meeting to discuss this, it would have probably taken at least 15 minutes to schedule and then another 15 minutes to actually hold the meeting.
Alternatively, if you are trying to connect people together, want to engage in a discussion or work together on a project, you probably need a meeting. The length, format and attendees depend upon the purpose of your meeting. When you decide to have a meeting, consider how to engage your participants well so that it is a meeting that is a great use of everyone’s time.
Have you scheduled breaks in between meetings?
While it is easy to schedule back-to-back online meetings, this can create weariness and exhaustion. We can also end up being late to all of our subsequent meetings if any of the meetings take more time than expected. When scheduling meetings – or when someone else is scheduling your meetings – include break time. Either schedule them for less than an hour or make sure you leave room in between meetings. Also, remember to protect time (at least 30 minutes- 1 hour) each day when you can take more than just a 5 minute bathroom and grab a snack break. Since most of our meetings continue to be online, we don’t have the built in travel time that gives us a break. When we build in breaks, we can overcome online meeting fatigue and overall fatigue. This also gives us an opportunity to engage in physical activity that helps our bodies and our minds! Stand up and walk around, go for a walk outside, take a dance break, drink some water, eat a snack (ideally healthy…) or something else you enjoy that will get you away from your desk and your computer. When you allow yourself breaks, you are more energized and are more productive when you do meet!
Is there someone else who can attend the meeting(s)?
While your colleagues and team members may want YOU to attend every meeting, depending upon the project, situation or your own schedule, it doesn’t always need to be you. Also, in many situations, there are multiple people from your own organization or coalition in the meetings. Take time to discuss which meetings, groups and priorities require your participation and which ones could be someone else. When you take the time to reflect on other people who would be a good fit for participation, you also create opportunities for growth, connection and engagement among your colleagues and partners.
So what about you? Which question are you going to answer first in order to overcome meeting fatigue?
If you would like more support in your online meeting work, check out my resource, How to Lead Your Best Online Meeting Yet!