Challenges of Conducting a Board Meeting Online

Online board meetings provide better scheduling options. They can reduce the cost and time constraints of travel, and remove the time constraints that come with flights and hotels. They also broaden the range of board members and help prevent groupthink. However, embracing the online world has its own set of issues that could result in less-than-effective meetings.

To transition from in-person meetings to virtual ones, boards must modify the way they communicate and work. To facilitate communication during the online setting, a lot of the elements used during an in-person meeting of the board must be recreated. This includes a physical boardbook, digital presentations and sharing documents. This can be challenging for board members who aren’t familiar with the technology. A simple software program for board members can simplify the process. However further training might be needed to ensure that board members are productive.

Engaging the audience and keeping it productive is a different challenge when conducting an online board meeting. Distracted by the latest topics of discussion can take up time and divert your attention from the most important agenda items. A schedule with 20 percent less items, and breaking discussions into 15 minute increments can help in reducing this issue. In addition, offering an ad-hoc discussion forum for new topics may be helpful.

In the end, it is crucial for remote participants to to see the faces of room attendees. This can be accomplished by avoiding backgrounds or moving attendees away from light sources like windows that could reflect on the screen and obscure the image for other board members. Also, avoiding distractions such as cell phones or other gadgets can improve the ability of the participant to concentrate on the topic being discussed.

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