Online board meetings require more engagement than the offline ones and it can be difficult to determine ways to get people involved in these meetings. It is essential to begin by making sure that your virtual boardroom is equipped with reliable video conferencing technology with clear protocols for communication and sufficient meeting resources for each participant. The next step is to set up protocols that will guide participants through online meetings and facilitate productive discussion.
Ensure that each agenda item is followed by a conversational goal like “decide on an action plan” or “spark ideas.” This will let you move away from the current topic as soon after you have reached your desired result and also avoid overstaying your welcome. Setting a time limit for each topic can ensure that the meeting is kept moving.
Start with the most crucial items on your agenda. When board meetings are held in person, it is possible to recognize body language signals that indicate the members have something important to say. However, these signals are more difficult to recognize during remote meetings. Start by focusing on the most important issues to ensure that everyone participates in the discussion and feels that they have had a good time.
Use a consensus agenda for your meetings to save time on more controversial discussion topics that might not have the same impact on your business. Agenda items that are not controversial can be voted on by all members prior to when the meeting starts, so that you can concentrate on the things that matter most. Consider inviting experts as guests to give short talks or insights that will broaden the board’s perspective and ward away the groupthink that is common in boardrooms.