Online board meetings offer better scheduling options. They can reduce the cost and time constraints of travel, and remove the time constraints associated with hotels and flights. They can also help to reduce groupthink and increase diversity between board members. However, moving to the virtual world comes with its own challenges, which could cause less than effective meetings.
To transition from in-person meetings to virtual ones, boards should modify their communication and work. In order to facilitate communication in online meetings, many elements used in an in-person board session must be recreated. This includes a physical boardbook, digital presentation, and sharing documents. This can be challenging for board members who aren’t familiar with the technology. The use of a basic board software application can simplify the process, but additional training on the tool could be required to ensure the success of board members.
Maintaining engagement and productivity is another challenge when conducting an online board session. Being distracted by new topics of discussion can consume time and distract you from the most important agenda items. This can be minimized by creating an agenda that contains 20 percent less items, and dividing the discussion into 15 minute segments. In addition, providing an online discussion forum that is based on new topics may be helpful.
It is also crucial that remote participants see the faces of people in the room. This can be accomplished by avoiding the use of backgrounds or moving the attendees away from light sources like windows that might glare on the screen and obscure the image of other board members. Additionally, avoiding distractions like cell phones and other devices can improve the ability of the participant to concentrate on the subject being discussed.