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7 tips on how to stay focused during virtual meetings

A woman working from home smiles during a video call.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The simple reality in today’s business world is that virtual meetings are here to stay. The benefits are clear, as virtual meetings allow for uninterrupted workdays, cut travel costs and increase productivity. The downside is the number of distractions in your home or office makes staying focused during online meetings more challenging.   

The pressure is on attendees to stay on task during virtual meetings. It's time to end the side convos with coworkers and stop the multitasking. Continue reading for our list of seven tips on how to stay focused during virtual meetings.

 7 tips to stay more focused during virtual meetings

1. Turn off your notifications.

Notifications grab our attention and force us to decide whether we should act on the alert. Virtual meeting distractions pull our attention out of the meeting and away from whatever is being discussed. 

While in virtual meetings, prevent notifications from distracting you by:

  • Closing out of your email.
  • Putting yourself on ‘Do Not Disturb’ on Teams, Skype or whatever communication platform your company uses.
  • Making sure your phone is on ‘Silent.’
  • Switching your smartwatch to ‘Sleep Mode.’

2. Keep your camera on.

Having your camera on shows the other people on the call you are interested, engaged and listening to the conversation.

Plus, you are less likely to check your phone or emails when you know you’re on camera. You’re also less likely to work on things unrelated to your meeting.

3. Go full screen.

The temptation to multitask is powerful, especially if you are facing a deadline or in the middle of an engaging project. Go full screen and allow yourself to give the meeting your full attention.

Having other windows open will draw your attention to other work or other tabs in your browser.

4. Move your cell phone out of arm's reach.

What you can’t see can’t distract you. Put your phone in a drawer, on a shelf or far enough from you that you can’t get to it while sitting in your chair.

5. Engage in active listening.

Active listening in virtual meetings is giving your undivided attention to another person while they communicate information. It builds trust and respect among colleagues and prevents you from zoning out in meetings. 

Make eye contact (as best you can in a virtual meeting) with the speaker. Respond to statements with a head nod or an “uh-huh” to show engagement.

6. Take handwritten notes during the meeting.

It may seem a little old-fashioned but writing things down by hand engages other parts of your brain. Taking notes allows you to listen more effectively and improves your attention span in virtual meetings.

It also prevents the clickity-clack of a keyboard, which will help your fellow attendees pay more attention. 

7. Review your notes after the meeting.

After the meeting concludes, take a few moments to type your notes into a document or notes application. Refrain from doing so when the meeting is still going on.

Then, you can review the discussion results and retain the information the team covered. You’ll be amazed at the creative ideas and potential contributions your brain will consider.

Why staying focused during virtual meetings matters

We all spend a lot of work time in front of screens in meetings. We owe it to ourselves and our co-workers to make that time as fulfilling as possible.

If we stay 100% focused during virtual meetings, we can optimize our time, get through meetings quicker and accomplish more.

Looking for more work-from-home tips?

Check out more of our content about working from home, including tips for preventing work-from-home burnout to advice on how to better communicate with a remote team.

About the author
Author Picture

Becka has been with Schneider since 2013 and has held multiple roles within Schneider Transportation Management (STM), including Broker, Senior Broker and Dallas STM Recruiter. In her current role, Corporate Recruiting Manager, she oversees the team of STM recruiters. Becka’s favorite part of her day is when she gets to connect quality candidates to positions that will allow for success both personally and professionally.

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