As we settle into September, we are taking stock of virtual meetings’ best practices and have some tips to share. As with so many of the changes in 2020, summer didn’t provide the time/space to recharge fully. Now September is bringing a new layer of uncertainty and change.
I’m also finding that my work is taking place later in the day and on weekends. I’m getting more client e-mails on the weekend than ever before; the “July pause” and August slow ramp-up didn’t happen – it was a short runway to a full schedule for everyone. People are not able to take breaks in the same way that we could pre-pandemic. This reality should be taken into account when planning a meeting.
Here are three ideas on timing to make your virtual meetings more productive:
- Maximum Duration of a Virtual Meeting – 90 minutes – You can do 2 x 90-minute blocks per day, depending on your objectives. Some boards and organizations have to do 3 x 90 minutes sessions in a day. This is exhausting, so consider how you can keep the energy up with interactive processes and deliberate engagement.
- 30-minute Breaks – Every 90 minutes – Encourage participants to get outside, hydrate, eat + take a screen break if they can. Many people are responding to e-mails or have calls booked during these breaks, so it’s not a proper break.
- In-Meeting Pauses – in a 90-minute block, try to build in at least one short pause – just 30-60 seconds – invite people to stretch, stand, take some deep breaths, look away from their screens, and sip water.
I hope this advice for those of you immersed in our new normal of organizing virtual meetings is helpful!