“Are you there?”

“You’re breaking up.”

“Sorry, who’s speaking?”

Virtual meetings can get awkward fast. With the corporate workforce staying at home amid COVID-19, there have been countless online syncs and undoubtedly a lot of frustration. Meetings can already be fraught with unspoken politics, hidden agendas, and unnecessary competition, and going virtual can compound these issues. 

And, frankly, we’re all feeling anxious about the lack of in-person contact and uncertainty regarding the future. 

Mindfulness, the practice of being in the moment, can help you manage emotional fatigue and navigate pitfalls of virtual meetings. Take a look at the tips below from the Be team. 

  • Take a breath: Before you join a meeting, take a four deep breaths, feeling the air move through your body. Gather the things you’ll need for the call—any presentation materials, a notepad, and pen—and consider the purpose of the discussion. Now that you’re more grounded and prepared, dial in. 
  • Limit distractions: If you can, put away your phone, and while you’re at it, close out of email. When meeting remotely, it’s easy to slip into the habit of multitasking but try to be as present as possible during meetings, even if you aren’t speaking. 
  • Actively listen: Without body language, it can be hard to understand others’ emotions and reactions, making it easy to lose conversational threads and miss someone’s point. Strive to listen carefully throughout the meeting, and if needed, take notes and listen for questions to remain engaged. 
  • Hot and cold: Hold a cold drink or a cup of tea during the meeting. The temperature will keep you connected to your body and the present moment. This is also a great tactic for anyone who experiences disassociation during meetings due to anxiety. If you don’t have anything hot or cold to use, pick a textured object like a seashell or even your pen.
  • Establish a connection: Spend a few minutes at the top of the call chatting with attendees to check in. If the meeting is larger, reach out to a handful of your closest colleagues over a communication channel like Slack or chat to say hello. This is a great reminder that the voices and faces on your computer are human beings—even if you haven’t seen them in a while.  
  • Disengage: If you don’t have to run to another meeting, take a few minutes after the call for a short meditation or walk around your space. Or if you’re crunched for time, name one positive thing that happened during the discussion before you move along. 

How are you managing your virtual meetings? Let us know in the comments below—and share tips we might have missed for managing your work calls.