Meet the Online Meeting Monster

Virtual Working | Meetings


The Online Meeting Monster™ sucks valuable time out of your busy day. In the time of COVID when people are worried about getting work done, homeschooling kids, and maintaining sanity around the house, the Online Meeting Monster™ is the last thing you need. 


The Online Meeting Monster™ is everything that you hate. No agenda, an awful agenda, or an agenda that’s way too long and ambitious. It’s a meeting that could have been an email or a meeting to gather input on something that’s already been decided. It’s a “meeting for the sake of meeting” meeting. 


Who is the Online Meeting Monster™? 

The Online Meeting Monster™ can also be a person at your company. I’m not saying you don’t like working with them. In fact, they’re probably pleasant and you get along well. But, sometimes they exhibit behaviors in a meeting that really get on your nerves, like Denise 


Denise is great at accounting, but she is awful when it comes to facilitating meetings. She never has an agenda and instead of trying to keep everyone on track, she just lets the conversation go wherever it wants to go. Which means you don’t meet your objectives and need ANOTHER meeting. It’s easy to dread Denise’s meetings. 


Then there’s Greg. He never listens and can’t seem to agree with anyone, even company leadership, about anything. When he doesn’t like a suggestion, he becomes completely disrespectful and vocal about why it’s wrong. People never want to share their opinions and ideas when Greg is in the meeting. It’s just not worth the aggravation. 


Have you met Ellen? Ellen never wants to be at the meeting. She turns on her video camera but then spends the rest of the meeting totally checked out. She’s supposed to be documenting agreements and next steps, but instead she spends the time reading other emails, checking her text messages, and someone swore they saw a shopping website reflected in her glasses last week during the discussion about the 2nd quarter financial results. If Ellen’s the one taking notes in the meeting, you can count on there never being anything robust or complete. 


And let’s not forget about Phil. Phil constantly rushes through his meetings. He always seems to have somewhere else he needs to be. He ends his meetings so abruptly they never actually feel finished. It throws the entire meeting off, and he’s completely oblivious to it. Every. Single. Time. 


Right about now, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement. I imagine you’re even thinking about a few people in your organization. Aren’t you? Every organization has a Denise, Greg, Ellen, and Phil.


But here’s the flipside. If we really think about these behaviors, we begin to realize that we are the Online Meeting Monster™. At one point or another, we’ve all been Phil, Denise, or Ellen. And as painful as it is to admit, we may even be a little bit like Greg when it comes to a hot-button issue.

Sometimes, only one of these behaviors shows up in a meeting and it becomes a little challenging. Other times, you’ll encounter (or dare I say, display yourself) multiple behaviors in a meeting that are less than ideal, and that creates the Online Meeting Monster™. But what should you do? 


Without a plan of action to battle the Online Meeting Monster™, the only outcome is disaster.  


Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore deeper where the monster shows its face and offer up ways to better manage your meetings so the next time you find yourself in a room full of Phils, Denises, and Ellens or getting a little hot under the collar like Greg, you’ll have a clear path forward to de-escalate the situation and tame your Online Meeting Monster™ once and for all. 


See you later, Monster. 



Interaction Associates literally wrote the books on group problem-solving, facilitation, and building collaborative cultures: How to Make Meetings Work by our founder David Straus and Michael Doyle; and How to Make Collaboration Work by David Straus. 


Hundreds of thousands of individuals have learned and continue to practice the Interaction Method™, a facilitated approach to building understanding, agreement, and taking concerted action. We have been at the nexus of both in-person and virtual adult learning with innovative and proprietary achievements in the areas of design, blended learning processes, and the integration of Interaction Associates’ intellectual property with our clients’ content. 



Did you miss a blog in the Tame the Online Meeting Monster™ series? Find the published blogs below:

Part 2: Why Are We Meeting?
Start your meeting off on the right foot by preparing yourself and attendees. In this blog we will provide you the tools to do this seamlessly.

Part 3: Is Anybody Listening?
Online meetings tend to have a lot of dead air and blank stares. In this blog we discuss how to overcome this common issue by keeping attendees engaged.

Part 4: Did You Write that Down?
A successful meeting should end with clear next steps and action items. In this blog we give tips on how to properly take meeting notes.

Part 5: Are We Done with This Meeting?
Tired of ending meetings more confused than when you started? Learn three simple practices that will help you end your meetings feeling confident.

About Kaitlyn Labbe

Kaitlyn’s mission is to generate interest in Interaction Associates by qualifying new opportunities and developing relationships with future customers. A native of Massachusetts and 15-year veteran in the client services industry, Kaitlyn also has experience as a Concierge, Travel Destination Expert and Agent, and Events Manager.