distracted, juggle

90% of People Admit to Multitasking in Online Meetings

We’ve all done it: press the mute button and do something else. The trouble is, we think we’re saving time – but actually we’re wasting it: ours and everyone elses. The science is clear: multitaskers perform worse than those who complete one task at a time. They have less focus, are worse at switching tasks, worse at organising information and more easily distracted.

But staying focussed on conference calls and webinars is difficult. We try to concentrate, yet before we know it our brain is diverted down rabbit holes of thought.

So as a meeting leader, what can you do to keep participants engaged and switched-on? As a participant: what can you do to stop yourself from zoning out? Here are 10 tips to turn that boring webinar into an enriching experience for everyone:

eye contact

Trick yourself to look into the webcam with strategically placed eyes

10 Tips to Avoid Zoning Out on Calls & Webinars

  • Look into the webcam when you speak – so it looks like you’re talking to me, and not yourself

  • Smile! We can look bored, frazzled or impatient when concentrating on the screen.

  • Raise your laptop to eye level (e.g by stacking it on books). That way you look your best, and I can look into your eyes: a requirement for trust

  • Stay alert and look for openings to make a comment or ask a question. Share your genius: you get out what you put in.

  • Start the call/video 10 minutes early to test technology and break the ice before getting down to business (let your participants know this will happen in the email invite)

Ask Yourself:
What Can I Get Out of This Call?
What Can I Give?

⸺ It’s your decision: will you give and get something worthwhile from the meeting or not?

  • People are either visual (65%), auditory (35%) or kinesthetic (5%). So switch up your communication styles: move from presentation to ‘talking head’ and vary your tone of voice.

  • Be presentable. See your clothes, hair and hygeine as a kind of persona that you step into when you’re performing your best self at work.

  • Our concentration span only lasts 10-20 minutes. So don’t give long presentations. Break it up every 5-10 minutes by asking a question, sending a poll or feedback via chat.

  • Introduce yourself when you join the call/webinar and say something enthusiastic about being on the meeting. Do this verbally or via chat. See how it raises the energy and tone of the meeting when you do this.

  • Stand up and stretch your legs to mobilise your energy. If you’re on a call – walk around. Keep your energy up.

I’d love to hear from you if you have tricks to keep yourself engaged and focussed during calls or video conferences? Do you regularly chair or lead online meetings? How do you keep your participants engaged, active and alert? Help others by sharing your experience in the comments below: together we make change happen!