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Fighting Zoom fatigue starts with you

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Zoom fatigue is on the rise, and many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the number of Zooms during a typical workweek. Before you send your next Zoom invitation, consider what you want to achieve and the best way to accomplish it. Then, prepare in advance to maximize your time.

Determine how to connect

If you know you need to touch base, but aren’t sure how, follow these guidelines.

Email when:

  • You need to share information that doesn’t require a discussion, such as simple details or instructions
  • You’ve already had a video or voice touch base and want to outline decisions
  • You’re sharing a document that people will need time to review before chatting

Phone or send a Slack/Zoom message when:

  • You need to have a conversation with only one or two people
  • You have a quick question or need a quick answer
  • You’re stuck in a repetitive email chain (Sometimes it’s quicker to pick up the phone!)

Schedule a Zoom meeting when:

  • You need to meet with several people at once
  • You’ll be sharing presentations and other visuals
  • You will share important information that needs to be recorded
  • You want to encourage a deeper discussion with the use of breakout rooms

Host better Zoom meetings

If you’ve determined that you really do need to Zoom, help your colleagues get the most out of the experience by following these tips: 

  1. Invite the right people. Only include people who are impacted by the meeting topic, can contribute useful content and can support decision-making or have the ability to make the final call.
  2. Determine availability. If you’re scheduling a one-on-one or a department meeting, use Outlook. For larger meetings, you may want to use a scheduling website such as Doodle or Calendly.
  3. Request video participation in advance. Zoom video is the closest we can come to an in-person meeting while the majority of us are working remotely. Let people know in advance if you’d like them to join on video and if you’ll be sharing visual assets so they can prepare accordingly (but be understanding of technology or other limitations).
  4. Send an agenda at least one hour prior to the meeting. If your colleagues understand the purpose of the meeting, they can come prepared to address the topic at hand, as well as to suggest other decision-makers who should be included.
  5. Dedicate a few minutes to chatting and checking in. Encourage people to introduce themselves, if necessary, and ask how everyone is doing. Since we don’t see each other in person, this time provides organic team-building.
  6. Keep people engaged. Encourage participation by asking questions verbally/in polls, incorporating quizzes or using the chat feature. Consider breakout rooms to promote deeper discussions. Participants losing interest or zoning out is one of the biggest downfalls of remote meetings. Make sure your guests know their participation is essential.
  7. Ensure that everyone is clear on the next steps. If your meeting requires decision-making, make sure to reiterate the next steps before leaving the call.
  8. End the meeting on time. Be respectful of your colleagues’ time by not going over the allotted timeframe. If you think you will need additional time, ask colleagues if they can stay on the line a few more minutes or if they would prefer to reschedule prior to the scheduled end time.
  9. Follow-up with meeting minutes or notes. Don’t assume that everyone will remember what was discussed. The project manager or meeting organizer should plan to send notes detailing what was covered, including the next steps and responsibilities.
  10. Thank participants and ask for feedback. Make sure everyone knows that you appreciate their time. If you had difficulty reading the room, consider reaching out to participants individually after the meeting to ask for their feedback to improve future meetings.

Remember: Communication is a vital part of doing business and getting work done. However, too much Zoom time can be frustrating and counter-productive. Schedule with intention and your colleagues — and your calendar — will benefit!

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