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How to pay attention during long Zoom meetings

by Mark Miller 3 min read

Long Zoom meetings

Photo by Good Faces on Unsplash

If you find yourself wanting to catch some Z's during long Zoom meetings, read on for advice on how to stay alert and focused. After all, you don't want to offend others by seeming bored or even nodding off.

If you don't think the meeting will contribute to your understanding or productivity, decline to participate. Some meetings are mandatory if you are not at or near the top of the organizational chart, but where possible avoid meetings that have proven unproductive in the past.

Joe Kwon, an executive coach, told ThriveGlobal.com [1]:

Zoom fatigue is real. The thing that helps me stay present is a simple thought: ‘Be in, or out.’ If I attend a call, I give it my full attention. When you are curious, focused, and all-in, you automatically notice more things and get more out of the call. It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I also do my utmost to avoid calls that have a history of being low-value. This allows me to better preserve and manage my attention, which is not unlimited.

Put your cellphone away

Another tip is to go into a room in your house, close the door and leave instructions to everyone to stay out during the meeting. Leave your cellphone outside the room unless you have a vital call coming in.

When you set up to take the video conference, make the app full screen so you aren't distracted by other tabs or programs on your laptop or PC.

Google Meet or Zoom: Which is better?

Without your cellphone, the children or dog in your room, and without other tabs being open, you can focus fully on the virtual meeting at hand.

Write notes on a notepad

Take notes to avoid typing and avoid getting distracted. Motivational speaker Amy Schmidt says:

I find that jotting notes on a notepad or whiteboard is essential in my new ‘virtual’ world. I have found it so helpful to avoid typing on my keyboard doing a Zoom call. It’s such an easy way to get distracted, and awful if you forget to mute your mic — and all you hear is the click-clack of your fingers on the keyboard! Doing this also allows my eyes to disconnect from my screen, giving them a much-needed break. 

Use video, not just audio

Make it a video meeting instead of just audio. The nextweb.com says [2]:

 If you’re working from home, a video call will force you to get dressed and deter you from getting distracted because you’ll be seen by everyone else attending the meeting. Peer pressure is a wonderfully effective tool.
On a separate note, video calls make it easier to keep track of what’s going on and who’s talking and actually engaging with what they’re saying.

Clean up your workspace

Make your workspace clean to minimize distractions. Says nextweb.com:

Tidy your workspace. The more clutter you have, the harder it will be for you to focus.
Get rid of all distractions: paper clips, pens, and every single bit of stationery that will lend itself to fidgeting.
If you can, consider joining the meeting from a different location that’s not your designated working space. A change in scenery should help you feel a little refreshed and help you keep your attention levels up.

Video conference etiquette

We did an entire blog on video conference etiquette [3]. Some tips include not eating; angling the camera so the other participants are not looking up your nostrils; not typing, or, if you must type, having your microphone muted so no one can hear you clacking away.

It's probably OK to drink a mug of coffee or tea if it's an informal meeting, but if it's a meeting of vital importance with VIPs, you might want to forego the beverages. And very few people would welcome you to sit there munching away at snacks or a meal.

Alternative caffeine source

If you need to get your caffeine during a video conference but don't feel like you can drink coffee, tea, or an energy drink, try Viter Energy Mints [5]. The mints are sugar-free and freshen the breath, plus they contain invigorating B vitamins.

Buy Viter Energy Mints at the link above or on our Amazon.com page [6].


[1] https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-to-stay-focused-video-calls-zoom-meetings/

[2] https://thenextweb.com/growth-quarters/2020/03/26/how-to-focus-during-virtual-meetings/

[3] https://www.goviter.com/blogs/viter-energy-blog/how-to-do-a-video-meeting-right

[5] https://www.goviter.com/collections/viter-energy-mints

[6] https://amzn.to/3jb7Gwg


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