What to do when no one seems to be listening?

As a consultant working with clients, or even as an employee working remotely, when running a meeting you sometimes have the feeling that no one is listening.

All videos are off, nobody is asking questions, no one is answering your own questions…

People doing other things during meeting is a plague, that’s really a huge issue…

It does happen to us from time to time, what do you do when that happens?

What we tried:

  1. call out someone specifically like “hey Andrew what do you think?”
  2. address the elephant in the room “I feel like no one is listening should we stop there?”
  3. keep your head down and finish the meeting

Any cool tricks?
:fr: Version Française


I’ve done 2 things:

A sub-item to your point 2 - I try to make it audience appropriate. If it’s largely leaders on the call, I call them out. It’s usually one of thre ways:

  1. As leaders, we need to be engage. So engage or stop wasting my time.
  2. We’re not doing the “meeting after the meeting” on this one - so speak now or you’ve lost the opportunity to weigh in
  3. We’re feeling like a disengaged group right now - what’s going on? Is it the topic, or are we all feeling some kind of way?

Second - if I’m feeling particularly punchy, I’ll start spouting some pretty crazy things until I capture the attention back, and then address some form of “folks, we have to get engaged here.” :slight_smile:


I can’t emphasize this point enough. Drives me crazy when no one listens and ask to meet again


Yeah indeed this is a very big problem.
Some great ideas have been listed already.

In general we try to avoid as many meetings as possible as often team members would schedule a meeting when the whole matter can also be discussed via 2-4 quick voice messages forth and back or even a short video tutorial.

Also often too many people are on the call. So whenever it is a meeting with a larger group we would split the meeting into parts and ask people to jump off when everything relevant for them was discussed.

We also always appoint one person responsible for taking notes and preparing all action steps in Asana. Additionally to that we sometimes ask the other team members to take their individual notes as well. We would randomly check those.

Some of the other points that have already been mentioned such as calling out somebody specifically we do as well.


@Laura_Johnson1 wow you are really hitting them hard!

I never hard the case of people asking to meet again, mostly because they pay each time :rofl:

Thanks for all the feedback. My thread was mostly about delivering trainings, I should have been more explicit!

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@Bastien_Siebman I completely hear you. This is a frequent challenge. One thing I’ve done is to mention from the beginning, something like this:

"We have a full agenda of meaningful points to collaborate on, and our discussion will be much more effective with input and feedback from each one of you throughout the meeting. Can we all agree from the beginning to keep our cameras on and stay engaged?"

I’ve also found it helpful to plan viewpoint questions to ask periodically throughout the presentation, to prompt involvement. This is in addition to the standard, "Does anyone have any questions about … [the previous point]?

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