This past year most of us have had more than our share of meetings via web conferencing. I confess that it’s been a real challenge for me to stay zoomed in and avoid zooming out. It’s hard to stay focused for large periods of time on a screen and not be drawn away from distractions – whether it’s an urgent email, a project that needs to be tackled, a fur baby  that wants to be carried, including other domestic happenings. Makes me wonder if I’ve come down with a spell of Adult ADHD brought on by the pandemic and these hundreds of Zoom meetings.  I know, I know – first world problems, but I know colleagues in other industries that begin and end their days with these meetings and can barely get caught up with their own work. That’s not productive at all!

Focusing during Zoom meetings become more challenging with so many distractions competing for our attention

As we get back to meetings and events of the in-person variety, I have whole new appreciation for actually looking someone in the eye and making a real human connection. I look forward to the return of interacting with friends and catching those non-verbal cues you may not always catch on a video call, especially when your eyesight is not what it used to be, but I digress. I look forward to real brainstorming or happening upon ideas that are generated naturally over a water cooler conversation. I know these calls via web served a critical purpose – and they still do – with everyone remaining connected and operational and all, but hopefully this experience has made us all a little bit smarter about these calls, and meetings overall.  I’m hearing more and more that companies are adopting a Friday no-meeting day, which I’m all for. 

One side note, I love how these web conferencing services have innovated in creating more engaging interactions with the addition of breakout rooms, creative backdrops and even dropping in some facial enhancements , like eyebrows and lip color, to spruce things up, but it will only be a matter of time before that becomes ‘meh.’   

I do believe people are adopting smarter and more practical approaches to ensuring we have more meaningful and engaging meetings in this new hybrid world. One such approach is applying the MBO,  or meetings by objectives, approach. Remember that one? Tried and true. During any given meeting, the ground rules are set on what we want accomplished everyone works toward that common goal.  Sure, we can add in the niceties that we do anyway, but at least the meeting doesn’t go on tangents leaving us to wonder why we even met at all. 

It’s important to note that while this approach might help guide the meeting, adding in a bit of flexibility is fine too considering the meeting can take on another beneficial route. The important thing is to get back on track, which I think will also help us focus in and not be so easily distracted by that project with the impending deadline and other less important distractions. Meetings can be engaging and productive for all if done right. 

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