Every day millions of people log on to virtual meetings, and often, they get frustrated using them. While the technology is vastly improved in recent years and wifi connectivity is generally strong – still, they go awry far too often.


We’ve spoken with hundreds of meeting organizers and attendees to gather some tips for improving your online meeting experience.


Have a designated leader – Without a proverbial head seat at the table and all those physical cues that help tell you who’s in charge, meetings can feel chaotic and unorganized. Ensure it’s well communicated in advance and at the outset who is leading the meeting and empower them to drive the agenda, cut off sidetracks and keep people focused.


Test the system – While some people will jump on 16 Zoom calls in a day, it’s still new to others and often someone will request their specific platform for a meeting. So if you’re the leader, hop on the line early minutes early, test your sound, check your camera angle, upload any necessary documents and ensure everything is working smoothly.


Set ground rules – Especially in the case where you have folks that are new to the virtual format, take a moment to set the rules for the meeting and help people understand appropriate actions online. Oh, and rule #1 is going on mute when you aren’t speaking.


Go on mute when you aren’t speaking – Said it above, but it deserves its own section.


Plan – Having quick conversations in the hall before jumping into the meeting room, cryptic body language or the simple point of a finger can easily tee up presentations or engage those who need to contribute. In virtual meetings, we don’t have these luxuries,r, so more advanced work is required. Ahead of your meeting, plan for who you want to contribute to various sections and have them prepared.

Keep people engaged – We all need to do a better job making virtual meetings more human. Don’t be afraid to ask people how they’re doing, to share news – or their favourite meme – and give little human breaks throughout a longer meeting. You would do a little stretch during a 2-hour in-person meeting, why not do a team stretch in the virtual version.