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If we’re honest, much about working from home is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There are, for example, way too many online meetings and events. On one hand this opportunity comes with the territory of hashtag remote #WFH. On the other hand, the productivity levels of these meetings… suck – big time. In some cases the George Costanza signalling strategy of parking your car at work 24/7 has been replaced with being online 24/7. Being ‘online’ is no more an indicator of productive work than being ‘at’ work.

Given that this reality is not going to change anytime soon, what can we do to make our online meetings and events more productive? Some of our observations include:

For online meetings:

- have an agenda, don’t just ‘meet’ for the sake of meeting

- have strict time limits; less is more (productive)

- don’t be afraid to cancel a meeting if it’s not really needed

- don’t treat online meetings like the water-cooler, a ‘place’ to catch up on gossip and weather

- be cognizant that most meetings are being recorded

- don’t skip to the loo with your laptop

For online conferences or similar:

- don’t ‘play’ prerecorded videos; do it live or don’t do it at all

- don’t assume someone who is a great presenter in person is a great presenter online

- vendors must educate, not sell; direct sales online are like using ALL CAPS in text messages 

- don’t expect people to ‘attend’ all day events, if anything, use shorter bite-sized sessions over more days

- get some new ‘faces’, don’t rely on the same-old, same-old talking heads

And finally:

- take advantage of the tools that enable more audience interaction. If you are creating online events simply for the presenters’ benefit, that’s a bit like texting LOL to yourself - right George? 

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