Coping with online meeting issues

Culture cuppa coping with online meeting issues

One of the areas that my clients find challenging is communicating effectively in English when there is no visual element, for example, when on audio-only calls and when the video is switched off.

Specifically, the lack of cues to help interpretation, such as facial expressions and body language, can make it harder to connect and judge the reaction of the other person, especially if their voice is not very expressive, or they are distracted. The lack of visuals means you have to concentrate much harder to interpret the key messages and understand.

It can come up as an issue also because your connection or the sound is not great, or you experience technical issues. Finally, it can be incredibly challenging when you find it hard to understand the other person, maybe because you are not used to their accent, way of speaking or speed of speech.

You might be concerned that you do not pick up the intended messages and miss a critical point which is essential to the call.

You might start to feel awkward as you lose the thread of the conversation and struggle to participate fully, share your views and have a share of voice.

So what if you do experience difficulties?

What can you say to explain, without sounding like you do not understand, or being rude?

How do you make sure you really understand those key points?

Today I am sharing my key professional English phrases for overcoming challenges on virtual calls with no video, so you can flag your challenges appropriately, make sure you are fully part of the conversation and connect well to the team.


Connection challenges
  • I was having problems logging on.
  • I had a technical issue.
  • I’m afraid the connection is not very good.
  • The wifi isn’t very good, I’ll drop off and reconnect.
  • I’m going to move to another room, back in a minute.
  • I’m sorry, I think we missed that, you just froze.
  • We lost you for a minute there, but I think you were talking about…..
  • Could you just repeat that please, we lost you for a minute.
  • You’re breaking up quite a lot.
Hearing issues
  • I’m sorry, I can’t hear you very well, it’s quite noisy in the background.
  • Your sound is a bit quiet, could you speak a bit more loudly, please?
  • Sorry, can you say that again, I can’t hear you clearly.
  • Could you write your question/ comment in the chat?
Other problems
  • You’re on mute
  • My camera/ microphone/ my sound isn’t working at the moment.
  • Can you see my screen?
  • I’m sharing my screen, can everyone see it?
  • Give me a thumbs up if you can see it.
Problems with understanding somebody
  • I didn’t quite catch that
  • Could you repeat that again (slowly), please?
  • Could you run that past me again, please?
  • Can I just check that I understand what you said? So, ….. (repeat back in your own words)
  • I’m not sure I quite understand, could you email the details?


I hope you do not experience these issues too frequently on audio-only calls, however you now can prepare for this situation with these key phrases above! You can feel in control and know how to make sure you flag your issues professionally and appropriately. This means you can be fully part of the conversation, participate, share your views and have your rightful share of voice.

Any questions or need more help? Contact me to chat further about your challenges.

You might also like reading:

8 key questions to self-evaluate your English communication skills

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For more information about how Culture Cuppa can help you and your teams improve your communication skills and cultural intelligence, contact us.

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Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator
Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator 2
mybrain mind master practitioner
global chamber
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