Many can feel exhausted after having a day full of virtual meetings, webinars, and talks. Virtual event organizers want to keep attendees interested and engaged. Both need to consider the duration of virtual meetings and event segments as it is critical to keeping attention focused.

Researchers have investigated how your concentration is maintained during an online meeting , with the following results:

  • in the first 10 minutes continuous concentration is still sustained. If you are distracted, you can quickly refocus on the task at hand;
  • after 10 minutes you may take longer and find it more difficult to redirect your attention back to the meeting;
  • during the next 30 minutes your concentration span may last only three to four minutes before you get distracted by sensations such as hunger and tiredness;
  • after 30 minutes you may start to fidget, switch to other screens, or check your cell’ phone; and,
  • in the next 45 to 50 minute you are no longer listening to the meeting. You may feel the need to get up and move around, or start answering messages or emails.

As an event host, plan to limit your online meetings to under one hour with  multiple brief breaks. Also try to schedule mini-activities, video presentations in the middle of lectures, etc. to change things up. As a participant, don’t schedule back-to-back meetings for yourself. Schedule in brief breaks that will allow you to move around, eat or drink something, and give yourself a mental break. Overall, for both presenters and attendees, if you sense engagement levels have plummeted, it might be more productive in the long run to end the meeting early.