5 web meeting frustrations and how to avoid them

Preparation and checking your tech are just two ways to make sure your web meetings are frustration free.

recent European survey revealed the average employee spends the equivalent of 23 working days a year in meetings, with 13 of those days deemed to be unproductive. Which means companies are effectively throwing money away, whether those meetings are happening in person or online.

Having a better idea of what leads to meeting frustrations and issues can make a real difference to a business. Understand these five biggest frustrations so your next web meeting is sharper, more focused and ultimately, more productive.

They say that if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail, and this certainly rings true when it comes to hosting a video web meeting. Simply showing up and attempting to wing it will almost certainly end in failure. Likewise, if your attendees don’t know what is going to be discussed, they might struggle to contribute how you’re hoping.

Professional video conferencing software can help you out with some of the leg work here, enabling you to send each delegate an agenda along with the invite. As well as detailing any background information surrounding the topic at hand, make sure you’re clear about any preparation required from attendees.

To be on the safe side, send a reminder and an up-to-date copy of the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting, and don’t forget to seek acknowledgement from all participants.

It goes without saying the main benefit of hosting a web meeting is that you can get together with colleagues and clients from across the globe. That said, such flexibility location-wise can also cause your meeting to fail before it’s even begun. There’s nothing worse than kicking off your meeting only to discover half your invitees have failed to book a room in their office, are on the Tube, or simply not there to begin with.

There are several ways to avoid this problem. In instances where you have attendees from your own firm across numerous sites, book the required rooms out for them and put this in the agenda, as well as adding it to their calendar. For attendees outside your organisation, put a gentle reminder in the invitation for them to book a private room that features all the necessary tech to dial in.

And finally, don’t forget to include your mobile number and email address so you can be easily contacted in the event they are going to be late.

How many times have you arrived at a meeting to find the host red faced, fiddling aimlessly with their laptop or desperately looking for a cable or adapter? It’s bad enough when the meeting participants have failed to dial in correctly, but it’s even harder to forgive a poorly prepared organiser.

To ensure your meeting starts on a good note, make sure you check your meeting room and all the necessary equipment at least an hour before kick-off time. This will allow you some time to get help if needs be.

As for attendees, make sure your agenda includes all the instructions required to participate, including links to download any software and dial-in PIN codes or URLs.

Attention spans can easily wander in meetings. You can avoid this problem by beginning with a quick run-through of the agenda and any housekeeping rules. Introduce attendees to the meeting moderator if you have one, and make them aware of when coffee or lunch breaks will be. They’ll have a good idea of what’s going on and know there’s always something interesting on the horizon.

The moderator is there to keep the meeting focused, reign in anyone attempting to take over the meeting, and allow quieter participants to have their say. Keeping control will also help to make sure the meeting doesn’t overrun, which is another major bug bear among employees.

Great meetings can be rendered completely useless if they end with a vague, wishy-washy call to action. End the session by clearly stating the next steps, ensuring each participant is aware of anything they need to do. Follow up the meeting with a brief summary of everything covered, highlighting the dates by which any further actions need to be completed.

By paying meticulous attention to detail throughout planning, delivery and post-meeting, you can buck this trend and earn a reputation as someone who doesn’t hold meetings for meetings sake. For more expert knowledge, read more on our blog where you’ll find dozens of articles designed to help you get ahead of the business game.