Why Online Meetings Are Bad

why online meetings are bad

There are many reasons why online meetings are not a good idea. These include the cost, inexperienced facilitators, and unprepared people. Thankfully, there are ways to fix these problems. Here are a few tips. First, make the meeting less stressful. Use a nonjudgmental atmosphere and avoid having participants share personal details. Second, keep the topic focused. Don’t let people chatter about unrelated topics or let the meeting run over.

Unprepared people

It’s not unusual for a meeting to go bad if participants don’t prepare for it. This is true for both the meeting leader and the participants. Both sides should be prepared for the meeting to make sure that the meeting will go well and participants will be respectful of one another’s time.

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The most common reasons why online meetings go bad are background noise, unprepared people, and off-topic discussions. In addition, 15% of remote employees engage in activities such as housework or other tasks that are distracting during the meeting. Studies have shown that unnecessary meetings cost U.S. businesses $37 billion a year. A single big business can lose up to $300 million on such meetings.

Off-topic discussions

Off-topic discussions take over meetings and distract team members. These conversations can also stretch the meeting’s duration. To avoid this, you should set an agenda for the meeting and keep an eye on the discussion to make sure that it stays on track. If you notice that a discussion has diverted from the agenda, you need to interrupt and refocus the conversation.

It’s natural for a team to go off-topic during a meeting, but that doesn’t mean you should let it happen. Keep the conversation focused on the topics that matter to the team. Make sure that the topics are relevant to the group and provide value to everyone in the meeting. If you’re simply sharing information that doesn’t merit a discussion, it’s better to share it through an email or a company newsletter instead.

Inexperienced facilitators

Online meetings are best conducted by experienced facilitators. A facilitator must pay close attention to the content of the meeting and the process. The facilitator’s objectivity is crucial for group trust. Participants need to know when the facilitator has personal views and when they are simply expressing them. A facilitator should make this clear to the group in advance. In addition, a facilitator should step aside if there is an issue they are not comfortable discussing.

A facilitator should be aware of the content of the meeting and steer the discussion to meet the desired goals. This is because the meeting is often a space for group members to get work done. A good facilitator should be able to support the members and make them feel empowered. This fosters a sense of community and high levels of enthusiasm.


While there are many advantages to online meetings, the cost of these meetings is often overlooked. In addition to being a time-saving option, online meetings can have environmental costs. For example, audio-only calls produce only a small amount of CO2, while high-definition video can cause up to 1.3 tonnes of CO2 per minute.

Although this study only considers the cognitive costs of collaborating virtually, the study notes that the benefits of reduced travel expenses and overhead may offset some of the costs. Some meetings require video because attendees need to see each other’s faces, while brainstorming sessions may be better held as audio-only calls. In addition, companies can record online meetings to use as training and development tools.