Challenges of Conducting a Board Meeting Online

Online board meetings can improve scheduling options, removing time constraints from travel and cost restraints from hotels and flights. They also increase the diversity of board members and can aid in preventing groupthink. However, embracing the virtual world has its own challenges, which could lead to less-than-effective meetings.

To move from in-person meetings to virtual ones, boards must change how they communicate and work. Many of the elements that support communication during a meeting in person such as boards with books, digital presentations and sharing documents, need to be recreated for an online board session. This can be a challenge for board members who are not familiar with the technology. A simple software program for board members can streamline the process. However further training might be required to ensure that board members succeed.

Engaging and maximizing productivity is another issue when running an online board session. Distractions from discussions can consume time and distract from the most important things on the agenda. Creating an agenda with 20 percent fewer items and breaking up discussions into 15-minute intervals can help in reducing this issue. In addition, providing an ad-hoc discussion forum for new topics may be helpful.

Additionally, it is essential for remote participants to to be able to see the faces of in-room attendees. This can be achieved by avoiding the use of backgrounds or moving participants away from window-based lighting which could glare at the screen and obscure the image of other board members. Additionally, avoiding distractions like cell phones or other gadgets could help improve the ability of the person to focus on the content being discussed.

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