Challenges of Conducting a Board Meeting Online

Online board meetings provide better scheduling options. They help reduce the time and cost of travel, and eliminate the time limitations that come with flights and hotels. They also increase the diversity of board members and can help ward off groupthink. The virtual world is not without its own set of issues which can lead to poor-quality meetings.

Switching from in-person meetings to virtual meetings requires a change in the way boards communicate and operate. Many of the elements that support the communication that occurs during in-person meetings like a physical board book, digital presentations and sharing documents, need to be recreated for a board meeting that is online. It can be a challenge for board members to navigate technology. A simple board software package can make the process easier. However additional training might be needed to ensure that board members are successful.

Another challenge when running an online board meeting is keeping everyone engaged and productive during the session. Being distracted by new discussion topics can eat up time and distract from the most important things on the agenda. This can be minimized by creating an agenda with 20 percent less items and breaking the discussion into 15 minute segments. Additionally, providing an ad-hoc discussion forum for new topics could be beneficial.

It is also essential that remote attendees can see the faces of people inside the room. This can be accomplished by removing background images or moving people away from lighting in windows that could glare onto the screen and obscure images for other board members. Refraining from distractions such as cellphones and other devices can aid in focusing the participants on the discussion.

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