Online meetings did not get it better

How I was wrong. Online Meetings did not make everybody better at Meetings

Online meetings have become increasingly popular in recent years and a big part of our professional lives due to the convenience and flexibility they offer, as well allow us to connect with people worldwide

I even wrote about how just after a couple weeks of global adoption I noticed a few things that were making everybody better at meetings.
But let’s face it, if in a first stage the pandemic made us better at meetings (with online meetings) it did not take us long to go back to bad habits. Beneath the surface of this technological marvel, not only lies a complex array of challenges of their own but also it capitalises on the old bad habits of the traditional in person meetings, and a few years after widespread use, it has become clear that online meetings are now poorly executed just as normal in person meetings.


1 - There is Always Someone Late / Punctuality Issues
After an initial improvement, the overwhelming reality of back-to-back meetings has led to a trend where there is always someone late again, meeting after meeting.
This disrupts everybody's schedules and the flow of the meeting, plus it can not only reduce the overall effectiveness of meeting time but it can also make it difficult for the other participants to focus and stay engaged.

2 - Difficulty Managing Large Groups and Maintaining Order
As the number of participants increases, so does the complexity of managing the meeting. Ensuring everyone has a chance to speak and contribute can be more challenging online. However, in an online meeting, it can be difficult to tell who is speaking, and people may accidentally interrupt each other or talk over each other, forgetting they are attending an online meeting. This can lead to confusion and make it difficult for everyone to understand and follow what is being discussed.

3 - Loss of Interpersonal Interaction and Challenges in Building Relationships
Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language play a significant role in communication. These are often missed in virtual meetings, leading to misunderstandings and a decrease in the richness of conversations. Additionally, building rapport and trust is more challenging in a virtual environment. The spontaneous interactions that occur before and after in-person meetings are absent online, which can hinder relationship building.

4 - Technical Limitations
The ease of setting up online meetings doesn't guarantee a smooth experience. Participants may face issues with software familiarity, network connectivity, or hardware compatibility, among others, which can exclude or frustrate individuals and disrupt the meeting flow.

5 - Screen Fatigue & Distractions
Prolonged exposure to screens can lead to fatigue, which is exacerbated by back-to-back virtual meetings without adequate breaks or adequate working places at home. This can affect participants' focus and productivity.
Plus, without the added accountability of being in the same room, it can be easy for participants to get distracted by their phones, their emails, or other things happening in the environment around them. This competes with the meeting for attention and can significantly reduce engagement and productivity, leading to longer, less efficient meetings.

Hopefully, hereafter, you will be much more aware of all these challenges and try your best to have better meetings.

Have a nice meeting.

Let me know in the comments below what are your thoughts about in-person and/or online meetings?