Practical Ways to Break Down Your Lengthy Online Meetings

Man in Online Meeting
Photo by Vanessa Garcia from Pexels

As everyone is getting accustomed to online meetings, there have been quite a few challenges. From distractions to less engagement, people are feeling detached with the increased meeting hours.

In the past few years, the usage of online meeting software and virtual collaboration among team members has increased by 66%. This compels employees to follow proper online meeting etiquette.

Here are five practical ways to cut down lengthy online meetings strategically.

Use Breakout Rooms

When you’re organizing a meeting with around 10-15 members, it is likely that not all of them are involved. Attendees miss out on sharing their voices, feel uncomfortable interacting, and don’t contribute their points. You can use breakout rooms to resolve this — it’s a popular option in most online meeting software like Zoom and Adobe Connect.

For instance, suppose your team has 12 members ready to attend a staff meeting. You can allocate breakout chat rooms for three per room with a time limit of around 10-15 minutes. Once the time is up, you can ask for ideas from each team as a whole or representatives from each group. This approach works well with even larger teams, involves every team member, and conserves time.

Set Expectations

Setting ground rules in a virtual meeting can help prevent overlapping of voices. Before scheduling a meeting, clearly send the agenda, expectations, and areas to be discussed to the attendees. This will eliminate confusion and establish the right mindsets to align with the meeting’s goals and objectives. During the meeting, you can assign a member to be the facilitator. This person can ask questions and get answers from the team members by using polls.

Schedule Time in and Time out

When you block time in the meeting calendar, you are likely to stick to it. Sometimes, the meetings exceed the time limit. In those cases, you can set a timer for the meeting duration. Some online meeting software have this option. If this isn’t suitable, you can assign an impartial moderator to inform when the meeting time starts to exceed. Perhaps you may need some more time to discuss a few other issues in the meeting. If that happens, schedule a follow-up meeting. By doing this, the team members and managers can benefit and focus more on their work.

Embrace Silence

Embracing silence can result in brainstorming significant ideas that are creative and of high quality. How? When you allow your attendees to think in silence, you may get numerous ideas and solutions to problems — all in a short time frame. It is mainly beneficial for remote meetings. As mentioned earlier, share the meeting agendas in advance. They will act as a brainstorming prompt. After 10-15 minutes of silent brainstorming, ask each attendee to contribute their thoughts. Following this direction, you will have various options with which you can discuss with the team.

Jazz It Up with Visuals

A monotonous face-to-face discussion for hours loses the audience’s attention. Instead, spice it up with visuals and illustrations to make points stronger.

Suppose you want to explain a new concept to your team. Share your screen with them. Use the online meeting software to show videos, whiteboard presentations or short animations for their better engagement. This presentation deck strategy will capture the attention of your team members. Plus, it will save time on having to brief your staff.


Following all these tactics will help you make the most of time spent in online meetings. Many online meeting software offer options like breakout rooms and screen sharing for more effective communication. There’s no longer a need for lengthy meetings.

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