Salient Communication | Writing tools and skills for business professionals
Call Us (203) 748-9078
Email Us



Nightmare No. 11: The Virtual Meeting

Posted Jun 7, 2012, by Roy Speed

Email Nightmare No. 11

The Virtual Meeting is our handle for a particular kind of email exchange: a group of employees cc'ing one another on a lengthy discussion of a sensitive topic.

The problem with this kind of exchange in email is threefold:

  • Participants let their hair down. They often behave as though they're in a conference call or seated in a conference room -- whereas in reality they're in email; they're writing. They're creating records of every careless remark, every half-baked thought that occurs to anyone in the group.
  • It produces an abundance of material. The Virtual Meeting generates countless versions, any one of which could be forwarded outside the firewall with a slip of the mouse.
  • It can't be undone. Virtual Meetings are basically ineradicable, thanks to both the many copies generated and the multiple locations of those copies.

What's to be done?
The biggest mistake we could make would be to simply scold employees, because they know in their bones that underlying the Virtual Meeting is a real business imperative: the need for employees in different locations (and even time zones) to get together in some fashion to discuss real business issues. They turn to the Virtual Meeting, i.e., email, because getting together in real time is often impossible and never easy.

Unfortunately, technology seems unlikely to produce alternatives that employees will happily embrace -- at least not anytime soon. For several years now, advocates of Enterprise 2.0 have been heralding the arrival of "social business," i.e., social media applications adapted for use inside company firewalls, to facilitate sharing of knowledge and information. Examples would include internal wikis and blogs. For the moment, such technologies have not been widely adopted, and it remains to be seen whether employees will desert the familiar (email) for the unfamiliar (e.g., a wiki). People with real experience in such matters say that email is here to stay. (See also here.) -- For the foreseeable future, we're saddled with the Virtual Meeting.

So if we can't simply scold employees, what should be our approach? -- What are employees to do? What can we recommend?

A critical distinction

Legal and compliance leaders must distinguish two discrete circumstances -- and in all training on such matters, emphasize this distinction:

  • Sensitive topics. The key guidance here: Email is simply not appropriate for sensitive discussions. Take the discussion to a more appropriate medium. -- In other words, whenever employees find themselves in an email discussion that strays into sensitive areas, they must move the discussion to a more appropriate medium (like a conference call). When providing guidance on this situation, make certain they understand the aim, which is not to shut down discussion, but simply to move it to a medium that doesn't require us to create business records prematurely, i.e., on topics we're still exploring.
  • Non-sensitive topics. The key guidance: Manage the discussion. Keep it focused. Resolve the issue as efficiently as possible. -- Your guidance here will serve two aims: first, to prevent the discussion straying into sensitive areas; second, to aid productivity. The issue is speed: how rapidly the group progresses toward a solution.

At our Email Excellence site, we have posted a Manager's Guide to Virtual Meetings. Here the focus is on productive discussion, but have a look -- our recommendations can go a long way to contain the risk as well.



Nowadays that we are doing online transactions and businesses, the virtual meetings can be applied and it is very useful. Especially during this time that all companies required work-from-home due to pandemic Covid-19. Everybody is doing virtual meetings. puppy care Portland

- Posted on Mar 23, 2020 by czech33
- Posted on Mar 3, 2020 by sakeboy

Today that most of the people are working online, virtual meetings are important. Most of us are transacting online. There are a lot of applications and social media management used for virtual meetings.
- Posted on Feb 27, 2020 by czech33

Great content material and great layout. Your website deserves all of the positive feedback its been getting. 192.168.l.l is an IP address which routers like Linksys and other network brands use as an access point or gateway. Firms set up router admin access in this address to allow network administrators to configure their routers and networks.
- Posted on Feb 21, 2020 by susanmayer

This article must-read for everyone. thanks for sharing your insights.
- Posted on Feb 20, 2020 by czech33

Meetings are one of the most controversial topics in the workplace. Some people hate them, while others believe they are necessary for successful teams to work together. Glad the author wrote about this. I will share this site to that they have a read on this.
- Posted on Feb 20, 2020 by czech33

this is very helpful! Employers and employees should have a read about this article. Sometimes, upon conducting there will be some misunderstanding between the party. __________________________________
- Posted on Feb 20, 2020 by czech33

Mechanic near me Kids martial arts Mechanic Winnipeg Water softeners
- Posted on Feb 16, 2020 by Jackson Mcnee

Absolutely phenomenal article!
- Posted on Feb 8, 2020 by Troy

This is really awesome! I like this blog i've just read here
Hardwood Floor Refinishing Albany NY
- Posted on Feb 6, 2020 by rhainne

I am not against any virtual meetings, but it must be well executed or else, a different outcome that does not favor the company may prevail, you may want to read more for some concerns.
- Posted on Feb 4, 2020 by Olivier1508

The tree trimming Wichita Falls company is still using email exchanges but not in the form of a virtual meeting. They preferred Skpe or Zoom.
- Posted on Jan 30, 2020 by Andrew

If so, then there is no need to worry anymore because in this article we will explain how to opt for a dissertation service that will guarantee your
- Posted on Jan 29, 2020 by amna

A virtual meeting could be a make or break for some careers!
- Posted on Jan 24, 2020 by Olivier1508

This is a good write up. Thanks a lot! site
- Posted on Jan 22, 2020 by leo1122

Very nice words! see our site
- Posted on Jan 22, 2020 by leo1122

Thanks for this! Great article! see our site | blasting site
- Posted on Jan 22, 2020 by leo1122

Virtual meetings can be a cost-saving or revenue-generating option as an event planner. But only if you have the right tools and know-how. Check us here parking lot striping sacramento
- Posted on Jan 12, 2020 by rhainne

theres always advantage and disadvantage in any type of meetings.What matters most is the convenience based on your own preference and experience,bathroom renovations sydney otherwise choose virtual meetings for some reasons.
- Posted on Jan 9, 2020 by Olivier1508

Thanks for sharing this article! If you are looking now for sexy girls check those reviews at dating sites vergelijken
- Posted on Jan 8, 2020 by doreenreinigerz

Thank you for the great information, virtual meetings are so much more efficient than the alternative. - Posted on Jan 6, 2020 by Troy
It is no wonder that one third of todays meetings are virtual, and this number is on the rise. However, 85% of business meeting rooms are not yet video enabled. For a long time, we could blame this on an unreliable internet connection and expensive start-up costs, but continuous investments have made the internet faster and more stable, while and cloud-based solutions have made hardware investments more affordable. Consequently, it is time to look at the core of the issue of
gold coast windscreen replacement.
- Posted on Dec 26, 2019 by Olivier1508

Benefits include affordable expertise (particularly with HR, finance, marketing), flexible support, and access to a full suite of services. Disadvantages include challenges with virtual teams can lie in communication, poor leadership/management and incompetent team members. our team in non destructive digging is using a state of the art app that allows us to input ahead of time each of our agendas.
- Posted on Dec 2, 2019 by Shannon1508

Now i know our team is not the only one having these problems. Everytime a virtual meeting is set, lots of last minute errors arises, sometimes can lead into cancelling the meeting, we at are group of eleven individuals, therefore, waiting for anyone that has some errors in communication is really a pain in the ass.
- Posted on Nov 20, 2019 by Shannon1508

good stuff and accurate as always! - cheap aikido classes
- Posted on Nov 10, 2019 by bizz888

@ Peintre Montreal @ Residential Painter @ Painter Abilene
- Posted on Nov 2, 2019 by ilias

I totally agree.
- Posted on Oct 30, 2019 by Michael Ward

Nice blog! Any update? specialized towing
- Posted on Oct 24, 2019 by

Great post!
- Posted on Oct 24, 2019 by

Any other entries? I love reading your articles. Very helpful to our companies. Keep it coming! &
- Posted on Oct 15, 2019 by

Amazing blog! Clear and detailed article. Thanks for sharing them! |
- Posted on Oct 15, 2019 by

Great Stuff @Residential Painting Contractor Abilene
- Posted on Oct 15, 2019 by ilias

soon we will live in an area where we wont need an actual office space anymore ilias @ Painting Services Moncton
- Posted on Sep 30, 2019 by ilias

Awesome guide! Thanks for sharing with us!
- Posted on Sep 21, 2019 by

Sometimes I really dont like virtual meetings. I cant express what I mean. Just saying. long island epoxy flooring
- Posted on Aug 28, 2019 by Daviding

We don't really use virtual meetings in our work but this is good to know for the future. Our work involves cleaning as a maid service.
- Posted on Aug 21, 2019 by

Cheers favorable on the proficient information. Tree Solutions Waterford Lakes
- Posted on Aug 16, 2019 by Cassandra D. Everhart

This is so true. Proper onboarding and education will surely make an amazing company. pressure cleaning
- Posted on Aug 12, 2019 by fredluis

All of our meetings here at Financial Advisor Sarasota are virtual. It's becoming more of the norm these days. Appreciate the post..
- Posted on Aug 10, 2019 by

Its great to come across a blog every once in a while that isnt the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read. sprinkler repair Miami
- Posted on Aug 7, 2019 by Joshua A. Price

Always keep the discussion focused with minimal segues to avoid getting misdirected. | photographer in atlanta ga
- Posted on Jul 29, 2019 by DominicR

Thank you for the article.
- Posted on Jul 26, 2019 by

We usually do this if there's an important matter and things to be discussed! this is also a nice way in communicating your employers and employees.Thanks! lawn care dayton ohio
- Posted on Jul 18, 2019 by Danielperez123

Really good post regarding virtual meetings Lawn care Glendale Gardener Burbank
- Posted on Jun 25, 2019 by Brian Fielding

It's really hard to tell nowaways who's paying attention during these virtual meetings Bakersfield lawn service Glendale lawn service Burbank lawn service Torrance lawn service Carson lawn service
- Posted on Jun 22, 2019 by Brian Fielding

Thanks for sharing! window washing near me
- Posted on Jun 16, 2019 by Michael Ward

Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to share this with my team. auto glass mirror repair springfield
- Posted on Jun 16, 2019 by Michael Ward

Thank you for such a fantastic blog. Where else could anyone get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a presentation that I am presently working on, and I have been on the look out for such information. candy crush
- Posted on Jun 12, 2019 by ernest21

I never failed to go here on your site its an honor for me to visit it. zombs royale
- Posted on Jun 12, 2019 by ernest21

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way Ill be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. carpet cleaner
- Posted on May 28, 2019 by Joshua A. Price

Mananging the discussion is always key to an amazing meeting. Czar of concrete company birmingham
- Posted on May 23, 2019 by Czarina

Nice information regarding virtual meetings. Today, we got lots of technologies, tools, and strategies on how to conduct a virtual meeting. Michael | bathroom remodeling springfield va
- Posted on May 15, 2019 by Michael

Great article for virtual meetings! As a manager of bathroom remodeling springfield company, we use Zoom for our virtual meetings.
- Posted on Apr 24, 2019 by Michael


Log in to post a comment
Your name:
Email address:* * will not be displayed.


Roy Speed

Our Good Documents blog tackles the challenge of preventing bad documents: emails or other documents so ill-conceived or poorly written that, in a legal or regulatory situation, they would have to be "explained." — Please email me with any questions or issues you'd like to see addressed here.



Useful links
Available now:
Our supplement on social media
Navigating Social Media


Copyright © 2012 - 2013 Salient, Inc. All rights reserved.
Visit Us on LinkedIn