How to better run virtual meetings


Virtual meetings are here to stay. How you participate in or run them can boost or sabotage the meeting, your team’s productivity and morale, and, ultimately, your career growth.

Research by Yale shows virtual meetings are often less engaging and more challenging than face-to-face interactions.

We must bring the same focus and reactions from in-person meetings to our virtual ones. Lean in, engage, and respond as you would face-to-face.

Here are some actionable tips to ensure your remote meetings are productive and enjoyable for everyone involved.


  1. Start by debating whether the meeting is needed or if you can resolve the issue by email.
  2. Add a clear description of the meeting to the body of the invite so attendees understand the purpose.
  3. Attach relevant documents and links, allowing participants to come prepared.
  4. Invite the right people who need to be informed and make decisions: Only invite essential participants and specify expectations in the invite, such as whether you need feedback or decisions from them.
  5. Specify the goals you hope to accomplish by the end of the meeting.
  6. Delegate meeting leadership when appropriate: If the topic relates to a team member’s responsibilities, let them lead and provide support.
  7. Come prepared with solutions or proposals, but present them last: Always have ideas ready, but encourage collaboration by asking questions first.
  8. Use the required & optional sections wisely: Invite only necessary people to avoid meeting burnout.
  9. Personal outreach to key contributors: Contact essential contributors beforehand to set expectations and give them a heads-up.
  10. Prepare if you struggle to communicate ideas: Take detailed notes and draft your thoughts in a shared document as a pre-read.

Start of the Meeting:

  1. Ensure everyone is on the same page before starting: Confirm that all participants understand the meeting’s context and objectives. At Amazon, they carve out some time at the beginning of the meeting to allow everyone to read the related document. I have not tried this, but it sounds interesting.
  2. Present problems, not solutions: Encourage collaboration by presenting issues and inviting input.

During the Meeting:

  1. Know how to interrupt politely: In small meetings, use visual cues, like opening your mouth slightly or raising a finger. In large meetings, use the “raise hand” feature. If you are running the meeting, it’s your job to watch for those cues and allow everyone to participate.
  2. Keep the meeting on track: Meetings, especially those involving engineers, can easily veer off-topic. It’s crucial to stay focused and ensure the discussion remains productive. Allow engineers to explore ideas but monitor how far the conversation strays. If the discussion goes too far off course, gently steer it back to the agenda. Assertively but respectfully speak up to keep the meeting productive.
  3. Engage participants if the meeting drags: Ask questions to keep the energy up. Invite contributions from specific people if you know they should or can contribute. Ensure a smooth progression without dominating the conversation.
  4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Use humor when things slow down or tense up.
  5. Be patient and respectful:  Not everyone will be on the same page, and not everyone will agree with you. Try to be patient and respectful of everyone’s opinions.
  6. Build in pauses when you talk: Allow time for others to jump in with questions or counterarguments.

End of the Meeting:

  1. Clarify next steps: Summarize the action items and assign tasks, even to those who outrank you.
  2. Send out the notes and recording.

Other Tips:

  1. Seek feedback on your meeting behavior: Ask a trusted person to observe and provide feedback or review meeting recordings.
  2. Use reminders for behavioral changes: Keep a visible note of desired behaviors on your desk, like “Stay calm, be energetic, pause, listen, smile…”
  3. Consider using 15-minute meetings more often. They keep the conversation focused and get results faster.
  4. Before you shut down for the night, review tomorrow’s meetings to ensure you’re ready.


Running a great virtual meeting isn’t just about showing up. It’s about mindset, connection, efficiency, and impact.

Be prepared and purposeful. Stay engaged. Communicate clearly.

These actions turn virtual meetings from a chore into an opportunity. They improve outcomes, strengthen your professional bonds, and boost job satisfaction.

How you act in these meetings matters more than you think.

By Joe Khoury