The best way to make your Zoom meetings more effective: Stop having them.

What your staff is really thinking about during a zoom meeting.

You know who loves meetings?  People that don’t actually do any work. Showing up at a meeting offers them the cover of looking like they are actually doing something. It makes them look busy. Plus, it gives them an opportunity to catch up on texting. That’s why the vast majority of meetings are a big waste of time.

Because Covid-19 has most people working from home, now would be the perfect time to cut down on all those unnecessary meetings. But no. Everyone is still having all those meetings because Zoom.  Thank goodness for Zoom! We can still have lots of unnecessary meetings just like Before Covid!

The problem is 90% of those meetings you had in the office were big time-sucks. They are sucking up even more time now because it’s so easy to invite more people and we don’t want anyone to feel left out. Yet once all those people (finally) get on, most of them end up zoning out or checking their email.

Instead of Having A Zoom Meeting, Consider These Alternatives:

  • Send a well thought out email. If a meeting is to announce something or get your team up to speed on a project instead of putting people to sleep with an hour long meeting, put some real effort into crafting an email that succinctly gets all that information across. That way, they can digest it and get back to you with more informed questions. 
  • Pick up the damn phone. Who is the one person that you really need to meet with? Call that person and have a real discussion with them. 
  • Have a quick Slack discussion. Slack is sort of like a group text. A lot of problems can be digitally nipped in the bud and quickly resolved with a quick chat.

There may come a time when you really do need to have a Zoom meeting. If that is the case, then follow these tips to make it as productive as possible.

How to Zoom Through a Zoom Meeting (if you must have one)

  • Invite only people that are crucial for the meeting. Those people that you invited because you thought it would be “nice” to keep them in the loop? They will “thank” you by texting on their phones and zoning out with thoughts of what delivery they are getting for dinner.
  • Have a clear agenda and assignments.  What’s the main purpose of the meeting? What do you want to get accomplished? If everyone doesn’t have something they are responsible for, they don’t need to be in the meeting.
  • Establish someone to pilot the meeting. People not only need to know when it’s their turn to talk, they also need a heads up. For example, “And in a minute, I’m going to call on Allison to share her insights on why our last campaign outperformed the previous one by 175%”
  • Really listen. A way to show that you were is to acknowledge and build on what the last person said.


To be clear, I am not knocking Zoom. I am knocking mindlessly continuing unnecessary meetings to our virtual world. If there was ever a time to break that habit it’s now. As Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”