How to Stay Awake During a Boring Virtual Meeting

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Virtual meetings on Zoom and other platforms are an evil necessity on some workdays. While meetings might not be the most coveted part of your job, they don’t have to rob you of your joy. Try these strategies during your next virtual meeting to stay connected . . . or at least stay awake.

Don’t Multitask

Multitasking is overrated, and it can stifle your productivity. A virtual meeting is not the time for you to answer email, browse Facebook, or put the finishing touches on that report due in an hour. Cramming in other tasks during the meeting doesn’t contribute to productivity.

Multitasking requires you to alternate between activities, which can drain you of energy. Work takes more time in the long run because task-switching requires a few seconds of refocusing before you can start another task. You’re also more likely to make mistakes. You’re better off minimizing that document on your screen and paying attention to the call.


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Are your notes filled with scribbles and sketches? As long as other attendees don’t see you do it, doodle away. It’s possibly the only good kind of multitasking because it doesn’t draw your attention away from the meeting.

Sketching is a sign of enhanced brain activity, and it can help you maintain focus and channel any nervous energy you might be harboring. If your colleagues are covering a boring topic, try to doodle about it so that you can still remember the discussion. Also, a scribble might lead you to a bright idea that might benefit the group.

Pay Attention to the Person Talking

As someone gives an update, listen to their voice. How does it sound to you? What kind of emotion are they expressing with their face? The more you concentrate on the speaker, the less likely you’ll be to nod off, multitask, or daydream. Paying attention to a person’s vocal cues and body language might tell you more than the words they use.

Stand Up

You might say that long-term sitting is the new smoking. A sedentary lifestyle is tied to high blood pressure, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. If you can stand without drawing too much attention, do it! Your body and mind will thank you for getting off your butt every once in a while. You might even make it a rule to stand up every time you call into a virtual meeting.

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If standing is not possible, try some exercises while sitting, like seated shoulder presses. If you need to keep your workout below the desk, do some seated leg raises or glute squeezes.

Get Involved

The more you participate in a meeting, the more you’ll get out of it. Think of ways to contribute to the conversation and offer your insights. If you get the meeting agenda ahead of time, look for new business or topics to inspire new ideas you can share. Stay on topic and be relevant, or you might see a few eye rolls or blank looks from others.

Be the Recorder

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Taking notes for the whole group is a great way to keep you on your toes. Being the scribe has several benefits, like clueing in the people who couldn’t be there and remembering more of what the group discussed. Make sure you capture the main points, takeaways, and action items in your notes if you want to maintain this role in future meetings.

Make Your Notes Action-Oriented

Whether you’re taking notes for yourself or the whole group, make sure they capture results, such as what people did before the meeting or are going to do afterward. Develop a habit of writing complete sentences like, “Christine attended the conference last week,” or “Sergio provided suggestions for the newsletter.”

You can turn the action statements into action items that you can carry out. Taking the previous examples, you can write, “Follow up with Christine today about her conference,” and “Offer to carry out one of Sergio’s newsletter suggestions.” Action items like these will keep you more engaged with the meeting.

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Final Thoughts

Virtual meetings can sometimes be a pain, but they often serve a purpose. One upside is that they help remote workers stay engaged with each other and the company’s mission. If you find yourself struggling to stay tuned in during the next meeting, try these strategies. It’ll pay off more than a concealed game of solitaire.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Doug McNamee says:

    I’d like to comment more extensively but I’m busy with glute squeezes 🙂 Nice article, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re killing me! LOL


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