Zoom 101 – What to do if there’s a no-show at your meeting

I work with founders of growing businesses, which could also be explained as saying ‘I work with a lot of very busy people’. Despite many board meetings now going ahead in person (hurrah!), I also spend a lot of time during the week on Zoom calls. 

It’s inevitable that sometimes I find myself solo on these calls due to a forgotten meeting invite, a call their end over-running or an urgent issue which diverts attention away from their calendar. It’s not the end of the world, far from it, but there is a tendency to feel the frustration build up as the minutes tick by and you grow weary of staring back at yourself.

I found the below article from Inc (full read here) a really useful one. What should you do when someone misses a Zoom call? How long should you stay on? How can you make sure it happens less? 

Some simple tips: 

1. Send meeting reminders.

It’s a poorly-kept secret that most entrepreneurs pack their schedule with so many things that they can’t possibly get them all done — and then forget all the things they actually need to do that aren’t on the schedule. This causes most entrepreneurs to be perpetually busy – and it becomes easy to miss things that aren’t top of mind.

To combat this, you need to make sure that you send a gentle reminder via their preferred communication method (SMS, Email, etc) at a time that is actionable for your meeting. If in-person, send one both the day before, and an hour before the meeting to allow for travel time. If a phone meeting, send one 10 minutes before with the relevant call-in information. 

2. Employ the five-minute rule.

If the person has verbally accepted your meeting invitation, whether they actually clicked “yes” on the calendar request or not, you have a reasonable expectation they will appear. Therefore, if you get their voicemail, or they aren’t on Zoom, don’t waste your day. 

Wait no more than five minutes for them to call back, or login — or ten minutes for them to show up in person. Any more than that and you’re actively choosing to waste your own time — and risking your emotions getting out of line.

3. Send a polite follow-up.

Now, the best thing to do is to send a quick message apologizing for you both missing each other and suggesting a follow-up. Never place any blame on the other person — it will make things easier to reschedule if they see you are sincerely willing to forgive their indiscretion.

A good template to use is:

Dear [Name],

I’m so sorry we weren’t able to connect. Please check my calendar to find a time that works better for you so we can talk soon!


In many cases, you’ll get an immediate reply to find that the person was either simply running late, had technical difficulties, or honestly forgot your meeting. In any case, by handling it quickly you’ll often be able to get it rescheduled right away, and with minimal difficulty.

4. Know when to walk away.

Sometimes, the reason you’re being ghosted is because they’re really not that into you. If you’re a salesman trying to connect to potential clients, or an entrepreneur trying to talk to investors, you might be doing all the right things and they still never show up.

Look for a pattern — if the person always says they’ll meet with you and then never shows up, they likely never will. Maintain your polite and calm demeanour — remember, it takes 99 no’s to reach a yes. Don’t waste your time on the people who don’t see your value.



Search the whole etc Playbook...

We have 100's of articles to help you with leadership, growth, talent and running a better business.

Agency Founders Surgery - free 1 to 1.

If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues.