October 21, 2020
The problem of too many redundant meetings isn’t anything new. It is a trap many teams fall into, even in the office. It’s the trap of copious no-agenda, purpose-less meetings – and lots of them. But did you know that we’re actually having more meetings since going remote? According to a recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average meeting count has gone from 5.9 meetings to 6.9. Yikes.
Being remote, however, is helping us master meetings in a new way. There are many new best-practices being written about every day. That’s great — but we’re here to dive into the dark side. Let’s look at terrible meeting trends and how we can fight back.
Read on to learn about virtual meeting worst-practices and tips to combat them.
Content Marketing Lead at Miro
Telling brand stories since 2007, Christina Sri is a writer, editor, and crazy cat lady. When she’s not obsessively thinking about remote collaboration, you can find her training her cat Snacks to sit (unsuccessfully).
Yes, there’s a global pandemic going on right now, but there’s also a plague of online meetings with no actual agenda or purpose. It’s understandable: many of us are new to this whole thing, missing in-person interactions so we just compulsively schedule “time” with our teammates to have discussions.
There’s often no clarity for the group on why we’re meeting — and often, the meeting could have just been an email (or other form of written communication). As these kinds of meetings pile up, folks start to get fatigued and irritated.
As a company that has always been globally distributed, we’re no strangers to the purposeless meeting at Miro. Heck, it even happens when you’re in the office. The struggle is real – and even after you feel like you’ve annihilated it, it can creep up on you again as things get busier.
Our number-one tip for battling purposeless meetings? Set some norms. In other words, work to define company-wide standards or rules for meetings, such as:
Meeting volume has gotten so high, we’ve seen a trend of people feeling exhausted at the end of the day, or like their brain has turned into goo. We all feel it, but did you know that there’s actually something called “computer vision syndrome”?
According to UCLA Health, “Studies show that humans blink half the usual amount of time when using computers.” Blinking is important for focus because it leaves a thin layer of tear film over the eye. If we’re not blinking enough, our eyes start to dry out and it’ll result in images looking blurry.
This is a tricky one, since many of us have to work on a screen all day. But leaders must set up standards and policies to help keep their employees from burning out.
Has this ever been you? When this happens there’s usually one of a few things going on:
OK, so the problem of boring meetings isn’t exactly new. It has been happening for as long as we can remember. But there’s something about virtual meetings that makes it even harder to engage, isn’t there? Like the fact that when multiple people try to talk at the same time on a video call, it muffles everyone’s audio. Then you’re left awkwardly saying, “Oh, sorry. No, you go.” At least in person, you can engage by reading body language, jumping in to easily ask questions or add something to the conversation.
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like your time was wasted on a meeting you didn’t need to attend or didn’t get anything out of. Here are Miro’s tips for running more engaging meetings:
Think carefully about how you want to use them, and how often. Consider, for example, the introverts in your company who may have anxiety about being thrown into a room with strangers without their consent. You might start seeing feedback that isn’t ideal.
We actually love using breakout rooms at Miro, but recommend using them sparingly, especially at first. They can be very jarring, scary, and awkward and can breed resentment from employees who would like to choose how and when they participate.
How do you prevent this resentment?
So what did we learn? Here’s a recap of all Miro’s tips for battling bad meetings.
Have you had any revelations on how to have better meetings with your company or team? Tweet @MiroHq and tell us!