12 Ways to Stay Focused During a Video Call

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy
Two people on a video call

In today’s digital age, video calls have become a fundamental part of our professional and personal lives.

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However, staying focused during a video conference can be a real challenge, with numerous distractions vying for our attention.

This guide will explore 12 proven ways to maintain concentration and engagement, ensuring that your virtual meetings are productive and effective.

Why Staying Focused is Vital


Staying focused during video calls conveys your commitment and seriousness about the meeting’s agenda. Whether it’s a client meeting or an internal team discussion, giving your undivided attention shows that you value others’ time and contributions.

Reputation Management

Your ability to focus during a virtual meeting can affect how others perceive you. Major companies like LinkedIn emphasize professional behavior during virtual meetings as part of building a positive personal brand.

Adherence to Company Policies

Many organizations have specific guidelines regarding virtual meeting conduct. By maintaining focus and adhering to these standards, you are not only being professional but also aligning yourself with your company’s values and culture.


Efficient Use of Time

Keeping concentration during a video call ensures that the meeting progresses smoothly and stays on track. Tools like Zoom offer features that assist in managing virtual meetings, helping to maintain the agenda and enhance productivity.

Enhancing Decision-making

Staying focused enables quicker decision-making and problem-solving. A clear and attentive mind can evaluate information and make informed decisions, thus enhancing overall productivity.

Fostering Collaboration

A focused virtual meeting environment allows for better collaboration and creative thinking among team members. Platforms like Microsoft Teams provide an interactive space where focus and collaboration go hand in hand.

Effective Communication

Clear Understanding of Information

Active engagement in a virtual meeting ensures that you fully comprehend the presented information. The information can be complex, and missing out on details might lead to misunderstandings later on.

Building Stronger Connections

Staying focused helps in forming a genuine connection with other participants, which is vital for building trust and cooperation. This forms the core of effective communication and is encouraged by communication experts globally.

Avoiding Miscommunication

Focus and attentiveness minimize the chances of miscommunication during virtual meetings. Miscommunication can lead to project delays and conflicts, making focus a critical factor in effective communication.

12 Ways to Stay Focused During a Video Call

Prepare Your Environment

You can prepare your space by doing the following:

Declutter Your Space

Keeping your workspace neat and free of distractions aids in maintaining focus. Websites like The Container Store offer solutions for keeping your desk organized.

Ensure Proper Lighting

Good lighting not only helps you look presentable but also keeps you awake and engaged. Philips offers a range of lighting solutions suitable for home offices.

Minimize Noise Distraction

Using noise-canceling headphones or creating a quiet space can drastically reduce distractions. Brands like Bose offer noise-canceling headphones specifically designed for work environments.

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Dress Professionally

Boosts Confidence

Dressing appropriately for a video call can boost your confidence and prepare you mentally for the meeting. This mindset positively influences your focus and participation.

Creates a Professional Appearance

Presenting yourself professionally is essential for virtual meetings with clients or upper management. Companies like H&M provide business attire suitable for video calls.

Reinforces Work Mentality

Wearing work-appropriate clothing, even when working remotely, helps to reinforce a work mentality, distinguishing work time from leisure time.

Test Your Equipment

Avoid Technical Difficulties

Pre-testing your equipment ensures that technical difficulties won’t disrupt your focus during the meeting. Sites like Best Buy provide quality webcams and microphones for video conferencing.

Ensure Good Internet Connection

A stable internet connection prevents interruptions during the call. Speedtest is a reliable tool to test your connection speed prior to the meeting.

Familiarize Yourself with the Platform

Understanding the platform you’re using helps in smoothly navigating through the meeting. Cisco Webex and other platforms often provide tutorials to acquaint users with their features.

Keep Notes and Agenda Handy

Track the Discussion

Keeping notes helps in tracking the meeting’s discussion, ensuring that you remain engaged and focused. Evernote is a popular tool for note-taking during meetings.

Refer to the Agenda

Having the agenda handy keeps the meeting on track and ensures that all topics are covered. This contributes to a more productive and focused meeting.

Encourage Participation

Your notes can include questions or comments to enhance participation, keeping you more engaged in the meeting. Tools like Google Keep help in organizing these thoughts efficiently.

Avoid Multitasking

Stay Engaged in the Meeting

Focusing solely on the meeting ensures that you are fully engaged and participating, which enhances communication and collaboration.

Prevents Mistakes

Multitasking might lead to mistakes and misunderstandings. By concentrating on the meeting, you minimize the risk of errors.

Reflects Professionalism

Concentrating solely on the meeting demonstrates respect for other participants and reflects professionalism. This aligns with the best practices encouraged by major corporations.

Utilize the Mute Function

Minimize Background Noise

Using the mute function when not speaking minimizes background noise, keeping the focus on the speaker. This is a common best practice across various video conferencing platforms.

Encourage Others to Speak

Muting yourself when not speaking indirectly encourages others to share their thoughts, promoting a more interactive and engaging discussion.

Maintain Meeting Etiquette

Utilizing the mute function appropriately aligns with virtual meeting etiquette and fosters a more focused and efficient meeting environment.

Schedule Breaks for Longer Meetings

Prevent Fatigue

For longer meetings, scheduling short breaks can prevent fatigue and maintain focus. This practice is commonly recommended by HR professionals and productivity experts.

Encourage Informal Interaction

Breaks during virtual meetings allow for informal interaction among team members, fostering team cohesion and keeping the meeting lively.

Enhance Overall Productivity

Regular breaks during extended meetings contribute to sustained focus and overall productivity. Many companies incorporate this as part of their meeting strategies.

Use Visual Aids

Enhance Understanding

Visual aids like slides or charts can make complex information more accessible, aiding in focus and comprehension. Tools like Microsoft PowerPoint are widely used for this purpose.

Encourage Engagement

Visuals often encourage more engagement from participants, keeping the discussion lively and focused. Many video conferencing platforms support the use of visual aids.

Professional Presentation

Professional-looking visuals reflect well on you and your organization, enhancing the meeting’s overall quality.

Turn Off Unnecessary Notifications

Minimize Distractions

Disabling unnecessary notifications during the meeting ensures that you are not distracted by unrelated messages or alerts. Many operating systems provide “Do Not Disturb” features for this purpose.

Maintain Meeting Flow

Uninterrupted concentration on the meeting maintains the meeting flow and ensures efficient use of time.

Reflects Commitment

Turning off notifications reflects your commitment to the meeting and is considered good etiquette in virtual professional interactions.

Encourage Participation

Foster a Collaborative Environment

Encouraging participation from all team members fosters a collaborative environment, keeping everyone engaged. Collaboration tools like Slack facilitate this outside of video calls.

Enhance Communication

Open communication and participation ensure that all voices are heard, enhancing overall communication and focus during the meeting.

Builds Team Cohesion

Active participation builds a sense of team cohesion, making the meeting more enjoyable and focused.

Review the Meeting’s Purpose and Goals

Stay on Track

Regularly revisiting the meeting’s purpose and goals ensures that the discussion stays on track and focused.

Align with Objectives

Keeping the meeting’s objectives in mind aligns the discussion with the intended outcomes, making the time spent more productive.

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Foster Accountability

Clear understanding of the meeting’s goals fosters accountability among participants, ensuring that everyone plays their part in achieving the objectives.

Maintain Eye Contact

Personal Connection

Maintaining eye contact, even in a virtual setting, helps in forming a personal connection with other participants, enhancing focus and engagement.

Professional Appearance

Eye contact is considered a sign of confidence and professionalism. It conveys your attentiveness and interest in the discussion.

Enhance Communication

Good eye contact enhances non-verbal communication, adding to the overall effectiveness of the meeting. This is often emphasized in professional communication training.

Implement a Code of Conduct

Establish Guidelines

Setting clear guidelines for video conference behavior ensures everyone is on the same page. This can include rules about when to mute, how to signal a desire to speak, and so forth. Many organizations provide such guidelines for virtual meetings.

Promote Respect

A code of conduct emphasizes mutual respect and courtesy, encouraging participants to pay attention and engage in the meeting. This positive environment helps to maintain focus throughout.

Ensure Accountability

Clearly defined rules create a sense of accountability among participants. They know what is expected of them and are more likely to adhere to these expectations, which fosters a more focused and productive meeting.

Leverage Interactive Tools

Utilize Polls and Quizzes

Incorporating interactive elements like polls or quizzes keeps participants engaged. Tools like Zoom offer these features, allowing hosts to engage the audience and keep their attention.

Encourage Virtual Hand-Raising

Most video conferencing platforms have a ‘raise hand’ feature, allowing participants to signal their wish to speak without interrupting. This ensures an orderly discussion and helps in maintaining concentration.

Enable Collaborative Annotation

Some platforms allow participants to annotate shared documents or screens. This collaborative feature encourages active participation, helping keep attendees focused on the task at hand.

Optimize Camera Positioning

Maintain Natural Eye Level

Placing the camera at eye level creates a more natural conversational setting. It encourages eye contact, enhancing the feeling of connection and focus.

Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

Opting for a simple, non-distracting background helps the other participants focus on what you’re saying. Virtual backgrounds can be used if the physical setting is not ideal.

Consider Framing

Consider your positioning within the frame. Being too close or too far from the camera can be distracting. Finding the right balance helps maintain a professional appearance and aids focus.

Set Clear Expectations and Follow-Up

Share Agenda Beforehand

Sharing the meeting’s agenda beforehand allows participants to prepare, fostering a more engaged and focused discussion. Platforms like Microsoft Outlook allow you to include the agenda in calendar invites.

Summarize Key Points

Summarizing key points during the meeting helps reinforce important information and ensures that everyone is on the same page. This continuous reinforcement helps in maintaining focus.

Provide Post-Meeting Recap

Sending a recap after the meeting, including action items, ensures that the meeting’s goals are clear and keeps everyone accountable. This also emphasizes the importance of the meeting, contributing to better focus in future calls.

Encourage Mindful Participation

Emphasize Active Listening

Encourage participants to actively listen and engage in the conversation. Techniques like reflective listening can be helpful and are often used in communication training programs.

Incorporate Mindfulness Practices

Some teams incorporate short mindfulness exercises at the beginning of meetings to center attention. Mindfulness promotes a present-moment focus, which can be valuable in maintaining concentration during a meeting.

Foster Inclusive Conversations

Ensuring that all participants feel included and heard encourages engagement and attentiveness. Inclusive conversations often result in a more enriching and focused discussion.

What to Avoid During Video Calls

To have a successful video call, here are some deal breakers that you have to avoid:

Avoid Multitasking

Engaging in Other Activities

Working on unrelated tasks during a video call can not only be distracting to you but can also be noticed by others on the call. This can lead to a decrease in trust and engagement.

Checking Notifications

Continuously checking emails, messages, or social media during the call shows a lack of attention. It can impede your understanding of the meeting’s content and undermine your relationship with colleagues.

Excessive Note-taking

While taking notes can be helpful, excessive note-taking might divert your focus from active participation in the conversation. It’s important to find a balance that allows you to remain engaged with the meeting.

Avoid Eating or Drinking Noisily

Consuming Noisy Foods

Eating crunchy or noisy foods can be a major distraction during a video call. If you need to eat, try to do so before the meeting or choose quieter snacks and remember to mute yourself if necessary.

Loudly Drinking Beverages

Just like with eating, the sound of slurping or loudly drinking a beverage can be distracting. Keeping yourself on mute when not speaking can minimize this issue.

Avoid Inappropriate Backgrounds or Clothing

Using Distracting Virtual Backgrounds

Virtual backgrounds that are too flashy or inappropriate can divert attention from the meeting content. Choose a simple, professional background that does not distract.

Wearing Unprofessional Attire

Even though you’re likely calling from home, maintaining a professional appearance is essential. Dressing too casually can send the wrong message about your engagement with your work.

Avoid Poor Internet Connection

Not Checking Connection Beforehand

A poor internet connection can lead to interruptions and a frustrating experience for everyone on the call. Make sure to check your connection beforehand, and if possible, use a wired connection.

Ignoring Bandwidth-Consuming Applications

Close other applications that might be consuming significant bandwidth to ensure a smooth video call experience. Streaming videos or large downloads should be avoided during the call.

Avoid Disrespectful Behavior

Interrupting Others

Constantly interrupting others can lead to a chaotic and unproductive meeting. Utilize features like virtual hand-raising or wait for an appropriate pause in the conversation.

Showing Up Late

Arriving late to a video call can disrupt the flow of the meeting and shows a lack of respect for others’ time. Always strive to join the call a few minutes early to ensure everything is working correctly.

Dismissing Others’ Opinions

Being dismissive or overly critical of others’ opinions fosters a negative environment. Maintain a respectful and open attitude to keep the conversation constructive and focused.


Staying focused during a video call is crucial for communication, collaboration, and professionalism.

By implementing these 12 strategies, you can overcome distractions and create an environment that fosters concentration and participation.

Embrace these methods to make the most out of your virtual meetings, and feel free to share your success with others or reach out for personalized support.

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