A great question: Are online meetings effective? The answer depends on the type of meeting and how it is conducted. There are benefits to online meetings over in-person meetings, as well as some drawbacks. Too many meetings end up being like fifth graders reading to each other. Another drawback is that many people waste time with social loafing and half-page agenda reports. The best way to overcome this is to focus on the benefits of online meetings and avoid the drawbacks of remote meetings.
Social loafing increases during remote meetings
Often interpreted as a negative employee behavior, social loafing is actually a symptom of low motivation and lack of focus. It proposes that individuals often choose to do less work in a group setting rather than working on their own. To avoid this problem, ensure your teams are aligned and provide context for each team member’s role in the process. A simple tool like Fellow can help you create clear action items and collaborate on notes.
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Research has shown that when people have unclear work priorities, social loafing increases. If this happens, it can lead to burnout. One study found that 71% of workers will experience burnout by 2020. This problem can be solved by implementing individual performance measurement, which enables managers to understand how to motivate their teams. By empowering employees to measure their own contribution, social loafing will decrease and ultimately be a thing of the past.
Tools can improve engagement
There are many tools to improve engagement in online meetings, from a simple poll to a virtual whiteboard. While many of these tools are very useful for different purposes, you can combine them to create more powerful meetings. There are tools for collecting input, connecting remotely, and working on designs, among others. You can find examples of such tools on Capterra, Product Hunt, and other online meeting resource sites. You may be surprised by which one or combination of tools works best for you.
Some tools can even allow you to spotlight attendees to keep them awake and interested in the meeting. This works much like a jumbotron screen at a sporting event, and it can also be fun. Another tool can help you summarize the discussion by creating a video collage from the comments of your attendees. The goal of these tools is to help you create a more engaging meeting and prevent virtual fatigue. Once you’ve figured out which tools can help your meetings be more engaging and effective, you can decide which ones to implement.
Benefits over in-person meetings
Traditionally, people have collaborated with others in person, which has several advantages over online meetings. For instance, face-to-face meetings are less stressful, can be more productive, and foster a deeper level of trust. However, it is not possible to simulate the experience of being in an in-person meeting, and online meetings don’t offer this luxury. However, if you must have a face-to-face meeting, there are some advantages of online meetings.
Another advantage of virtual meetings is the time saved. Virtual meetings require less planning and preparation than their traditional counterparts. You don’t have to worry about booking a meeting room, trying to figure out if employees are in the office, or even coordinating a videoconference. You also don’t have to worry about scheduling and distance issues, since everyone in your organization can attend from home or another location.
Avoiding technical issues
The first step to avoiding technical issues when attending online meetings is to prepare. Try to log in early to the meeting room to troubleshoot any surprises. While waiting, you can engage in virtual watercooler conversations with other participants. The most important thing to remember when attending an online meeting is that you will experience some type of technical issue. You should be patient, and you should have a good sense of humor. If you have a technology glitch, use it to your advantage and turn it into a relatable moment.
Another important tip for online meetings is to avoid distractions. Although these meetings can be conducted virtually from anywhere, it is essential to remove all distractions. The same is true for audio and video. You can even call your local coffee shop or log in from your home office and join the meeting. To avoid background noise, mute everyone but yourself and your presenter. You can also limit the number of participants and ask questions only through the chat box.