The Timeline of a Typical Virtual Meeting
It has been a year now since everything about work has had to change due to COVID-19. While no one likes going to a meeting -- participating in a virtual meeting is just about as awful.
Since March of 2020, I have had to participate in a lot of these virtual meetings. Regardless of the software that you are using, the meetings all seem to have the same general timeline. I thought I'd break down that timeline for you...and see if your meetings all seem to go the same way.
5 Minutes before Meeting Start Time: You fire up your computer and launch the software for your meeting. You want to me "on time" and be ready for when the meeting is scheduled to begin in 5 minutes. At this point you have a 50/50 chance the person who has scheduled the meeting is actually signed on and ready to go.
Meeting Start Time: Only about one third of the invited participants are actually signed on and ready do go. While we are waiting for the rest we all have to endure that pointless "chit chat" among our co-workers.
3 Minutes after Meeting Start Time: The meeting organizer makes the statement: "We're going to give everyone another couple of minutes." (I'm so glad I signed on early, now only to wait for the stranglers who either couldn't figure out the software, or just are always "late to the party".)
6 Minutes after the Meeting Start Time: The meeting finally gets underway (with about 10% of the participants still not signed in). At this point the problem becomes getting everyone to "mute" the microphones so we don't have to hear everyone's phone ringing, kids screaming, or dogs barking.
12 Minutes after the Meeting Start Time: The meeting organizer now decides that they would like to share a presentation or video from their computer. These things NEVER work. We spend the next 10 minutes just waiting as the presenter tries everything they can think of to get things working. Suggestions from the meeting attendees just further complicate the issue.
22 Minutes after the Meeting Start Time: The person running the meeting decides that things just are not going to work for them, but the information is important and everyone needs to see it. At this point the presenter decides to cancel the meeting and re-schedule it for the next day or two. Hopefully everything will be working next time (It won't work then either!).
25 Minutes after the Meeting Start Time: The meeting is finally over. You have wasted 30 minutes of your day and you still don't have the information you "need" that you were going to get by attending the meeting.
26 Minutes after the Meeting Start Time: You walk away from your computer in disgust and wonder if it is too early to start drinking.
The pretty much sums up every meeting doesn't it?