The coronavirus pandemic has suddenly thrust online meetings into the spotlight. Some companies, which have never relied on running remote meetings before, find themselves needing to learn how to incorporate online communication tools. Those used to remote work, meanwhile, are relying on them even more today.

A remote meeting is very different from an in-person one. If you are not used to holding them, you will inevitably commit mistakes, affecting people’s work. Here are things you should watch out for when you’re holding virtual conferences.

Mistake 1: Not Being Organized

Hold meetings online as you would offline. Have a stated purpose, get people in the right mindset, and encourage engagement in the activity. Make it easy for people to participate by having high-quality content in your meetings.

If not, you could have non-productive and disorganized meetings where people mentally check out at the first opportunity to do so. When this happens, it results in wasted time and slows down people’s performance.

Mistake 2: Turning The Camera Off

A participant is more connected during a video conference instead of a voice call. When you can see the person you’re talking to, you develop intimate, human connections. If everyone sees everyone else, they are also less likely to multitask, which keeps everyone focused. When you have just voice calls, it limits your ability to communicate non-verbally.

Mistake 3: Not Structuring The Agenda

Running remote meetings relies heavily on your ability to facilitate conversations and present information. Start a virtual meeting with check-ins or an ice breaker, since these will put people in the right frame of mind to start. You can also state the purpose of the meeting before you begin, and address “elephant in the room” topics to get them out of the way.

Place agenda items that could cause intense discussions in the middle, after less controversial topics. Avoid talking about challenging issues in virtual meetings and limit presentation length to allot more time for discussion. 

If you have exciting news, put it at the very start. Conversely, you can tease it and announce it at the end. Putting good news at the start creates a positive vibe while putting it off makes people anticipate it. If your meeting items flow from one to the other, you can guide people through them and avoid confusion.

Mistake 4: Allowing Passivity In Attendees

Not everyone has something specific to do during a meeting. However, it could help to give roles for longer conferences. Assign a facilitator, a presenter, a notetaker and a timekeeper. Doing this keeps them engaged and attentive to the proceedings. It also keeps people accountable, since they know there will be a record of what happens in the meeting.

Mistake 5: Not Having Breakout Sessions

Breaking large groups into smaller teams is excellent since a small group can better discuss ideas. Breakout sessions also engage more people; they allow those who won’t speak up in a large group to voice their opinions. Make sure to treat each breakout session as you would a meeting; give clear instructions for what the members must do and a time limit. Usually, you can achieve much in 20 to 40 minutes. When you do not have breakout groups, you will likely overlook many people’s opinions and perspectives.


Online meetings are a powerful way of enabling collaboration. However, it is easy not to use virtual communication tools properly. It pays to invest effort in learning how to maximize online meetings since much of business happens online today.

Running remote meetings has never been easier with Thena. Our conference management software lets you stay productive, maintain accountability, and track your KPIs or objectives. Request a demo today or get in touch with us for more information!


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