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Seven Mistakes of Virtual Meetings

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

I’m sure we’ve all been there. You’re desperately trying to peel your eyelids open while sitting through a boring virtual meeting.

Leaders and coaches are brand ambassadors. As such, every touchpoint you have with a stakeholder, client or team member is paramount. Being organized, thinking ahead and making the people you serve feel comfortable in your space, whether it be virtual, remote, hybrid, or flexible is a reflection of your personal brand.

It’s very easy to plan an awful meeting. Just show up. But if your brand is important to you, and you’re tasked with the responsibility of planning a virtual or hybrid meeting, there are a few key things to keep in mind because virtual meetings can go bad quick:

1. Overwhelm of communication. Too many items on the agenda can lead to a lack of buy-in. For a 30-minute meeting, what 2-3 items are most urgent and important? Double that for an hour. These items can be discussion points, coaching goals, etc.

2. Not enough attention to process. Process is important. What’s the intention of the conversation? How much time will it really take to discuss each item? Be sure to add about 15% contingency time and work backwards.

3. Too many distractions. Whether it’s a cluttered slide deck, no visuals at all, someone’s weird virtual background, a random Cat cameo or something going on in the background, distractions can be a quick derailer. Take the time to think about what elements of your meeting will drive focus, rather than create distractions, and don’t be afraid to assert yourself and kindly ask someone during the meeting to remove a distraction if its within their reach.

4. Using the right medium for the conversation. Could this meeting have been an email or a phone call? How urgent is the need? And who needs to know this information, (and who doesn’t?) Keep your audience in mind, and only invite who you absolutely need to be there. What situations can benefit from an eye-to-eye conversation? What standards do you have about cameras being turned on and off to maximize this? What could be done quickly and with little misunderstanding? If you’re in a hybrid work environment, consider what physical space would be best to host this meeting as well and book it early.

5. Lack of visual cues. Nobody likes a meeting full of talking heads. Since we lose the ability to interpret body language, use remote enablers like Annotate, White Boards, Breakouts, Polls and Chat within your virtual meeting platform to increase your virtual presence. Are there any external tools you can use?

6. No, or minimal, preparation. Has your conversational intent been weaved into the meeting agenda? Do meeting contributors appear ready and organized? Be sure to check in and communicate these needs prior to the start of the meeting and always attach your agenda to your calendar invite and send revisions if necessary.

7. Too much or too long. Conciseness and brevity are essential so you can hear from everyone. Keep your key message concise by distilling it down to three bullet points. What are the main topic areas? What’s important?

Source: Reconnecting Workspaces, Jennifer Britton, Page 111

Great meetings are memorable. Awful meetings are unforgettable. If a meeting is productive, it’s usually because the organizer took the time to plan the agenda items, communicated with all meeting contributors, used effective visuals, and used everyone’s time wisely. Stakeholders and clients alike will appreciate the time and effort you put into organizing a virtual meeting and the payoff will be felt both within the content that was covered and the connections you made with the people who attended the meeting as they interacted with your personal brand.

Are you maximizing your virtual meeting potential? Do you struggle with your coaching business branding? Book a free 15-minute consultation and we can discuss your needs.


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