What Are Some Challenges of Online Meetings?

What Are Some Challenges of Online Meetings?

Teleworking and virtual teams have become common in the workplace, and this has led to an increase in the use of online meetings. Flexibility and ease of arranging online meetings are vital since people are now working remotely, so there is convenience. Below here is a discussion of some of the general challenges of online conferences and how they can be addressed.

Technical Difficulties

Another challenge that accompanies meetings that are held online is the technical issues that can hinder the meeting process. Such as, when one is receiving feedback in audio, the video going off, lagging, or altogether dropping off from the call interrupts the flow of the discussion. Technical hitches are another factor that significantly reduces meeting time as participants try to solve them.

Some solutions for technical difficulties include:

– Requesting participants to mute their microphones when they are not contributing to the discussion to avoid the echo effect.

– If available and possible, to connect the computers with a wired connection rather than relying on the wireless connection.

– Having a default conference call number or link in case the video meeting will not push through

– Certifying gears and connections before the event to identify problems that may be present.

Technical Difficulties

Lack of Personal Connection

Communicating online often has a more business-like feel and lacks the warmth of actual face-to-face interaction. That is, when the interaction occurs through email, it is not easy to assess the tone of the message, respond to it, or even set a friendly tone.

Ways to help build personal connections during online meetings:

– Webcams should be kept as often as possible so that we can observe facial expressions.

– At least spend 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to chat about non-official business before proceeding with the official discussions.

– Pay attention to the volume, tone, and pacing to allow for optimal meaning to be conveyed by the speaker.

Staying Engaged

At times, participants are not in front of each other in a meeting room, and as such, it is easier for attention to dwindle. Problems of switching from one task to another, such as checking emails or browsing through a social media platform, can be tempting to do, thus making it difficult to stay focused.

Strategies to keep meeting participants engaged:

– Suggest more active participation, such as brainstorming in groups or using virtual blackboards

– This is because people need something alive, and an excellent way to give them visuals is to use visuals and share screens.

– Take roll call to ensure all group members are present, especially in a large group setting, encourage the shy members to participate.

– Do not schedule meetings to last for long to avoid a situation whereby the participants will get bored and less active.

Communication Gaps

Even the most superficial aspects of human interaction like responding to questions, individuals interrupting other individual’s speaking turns, and speaking turns in general are affected during virtual communication. Issues such as technical lags, poor sound quality, or being unable to see who will talk are some examples of gaps that can be found in a conversation.

Communication Gaps

Improving communication flow in online meetings:

– Here, people can interrupt each other which is not good; tell participants to use hand signals to seek the mike.

– Review action points and further plans at the end of the meeting in case of missing information or to wrap-up the meeting.

– To support the material, meet with the audience and then send notes involving key points to emphasize knowledge retention.

Lack of Non-Verbal Cues

In face-to-face communication, eye contact, hand gestures, body posture, and even the position of a person’s lips are used to convey information. Due to the understanding that few non-verbal cues are given, messages tend to be ambiguous or misunderstood. 

Ways to compensate for missing non-verbal communication:

– Nonverbally indicate they have heard what other people have said by responding with verbal phrases such as “I get it” or “That makes sense”.

– This is because in the current environment, it might be tough to tell the actual feelings of the sender of the message significantly if one’s tone of voice might change the whole meaning of the message.

– If one is perceiving something in a certain way, it is better to ask questions rather than to assume.

In Summary

The flexibility afforded by online meetings is difficult to beat but there are some peculiarities also present here. Some challenges include problems with technology, no workplace relationships, being alert, no communication, absence of gestures in virtual meetings. But if we learn how to operate technology, how to set up a proper meeting, how to lead it, and how to communicate during a meeting, the challenges of online meetings can be managed. It only takes a little effort to make productive online meetings possible and that is why it is essential to pay attention to it.