• David Verhaag

3 Tips for Beating Zoom Fatigue

Now that we have all discovered remote work and read the endless articles on “how to” work from home effectively, it’s time to start complaining. Not about working from home, it’s awesome. Not about the introvert’s nirvana of being locked down, it’s wonderful. It’s time to start complaining about the endless Zoom meetings.

First, we can all agree that Zoom meetings have a host of benefits. Zoom enables remote team collaboration, clear communication, eye contact, a peek into other peoples’ offices, and dog photobombs. All great. Being on camera with your manager, your team, your clients is a wonderful way to bring remote people closer together. What’s not to love?

Back to back meetings suck. Whether you are sitting in the stale air of a conference room wishing Bob had skipped the fish tacos or sitting in your “home office” aka kitchen table, poorly planned and poorly executed meetings blow. And poorly planned Zoom meetings are even worse. We think it’s the contrast between the comfort and security of the home office and the mind-numbing boredom and time suck of pointless meetings.

Here are our three tips for beating Zoom meeting fatigue.

Ask Yourself, Do We Really Need a Meeting?

It’s the flavor of the day. Staying connected while working from home. It’s incredibly important, no question. But meetings, whether they are in person or via Zoom, are still meetings. Before you schedule or hit accept on the invite, ask yourself, “Do we really need a meeting?”

If the point of getting together is face time to remind your boss you’re still crushing it full-time, go ahead and hit send. If the point is sharing a remote happy hour drink with your team to remind them that you care, you’re human and to create an excuse for a 3 o’clock beer, pop a top and Zoom away.

But if it’s a recurring invite that was a waste of time in person, if it’s a weekly check in that typically lasts 10 minutes and adds no value, if it’s a showup and throw up or a walkthrough of a Powerpoint without discussion, maybe you don’t really need a meeting at all.

Set an Objective and Agenda

Because sitting on endless and often pointless Zoom meetings while your kids or dog stare at you off camera is particularly painful, setting a clear and meaningful objective is critical.

Ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish with this meeting? If the answer starts with “to update,” see the first tip. If the answer is “to discuss,” you need to dig deeper. Discussion and collaboration are important but to create highly effective meetings you should articulate for yourself and others what outcome you are driving at.

Once you have your objective you need an agenda. Yes, even you. Agendas might feel like administrative overhead. They might feel so intuitive they aren’t needed but they are. Everyone appreciates knowing what they are getting into when they hit accept. Everyone appreciates being reminded of what’s about to happen when they click “Join Zoom Meeting”. So take a few minutes and write it down.

Share the Prework

“I didn’t get a chance to look at it yet” or said more honestly “can we rob everyone of a few precious minutes of their lives because I showed up unprepared, again.” How often in a day does this happen to you? It. Is. Painful. Everyone tunes out while the meeting organizer re-explains the background for the meeting. Meeting fatigue in 5, 4, 3 ...

If you are going to beat Zoom meeting fatigue you need to ensure that everyone knows what pre-work is required. Tell them in the invite. Remind them before the meeting. Put it in your agenda. Alternatively, be like Amazon and bake a few minutes into the agenda for everyone to sit quietly, read the brief and get on the same page.

Zoom is great. But bad meetings will always suck. They suck even more on Zoom. Stop doing that.

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