How to organize and conduct an effective bordroom meeting?
Can an online boardroom meeting be as effective as an offline meeting?
Many directors have found that virtual meetings are even better than offline meetings. In addition to the obvious benefits (no need to travel anywhere, it’s easier to get everyone together), the transition to virtual meetings has allowed board members to improve corporate governance. Meeting agendas have become shorter, presentations have become better, discussions have become bolder and more open.
We tried to figure out what it takes to run a successful online board meeting. Here are ten tips to help you organize your virtual board meeting the right way.
1. Pay special attention to preparation. Ask participants not only to enlighten themselves with the necessary materials in advance, but also to discuss them using file sharing or secure chats. Then the meeting itself will be shorter and more productive.
2. Leave only the main issues on the agenda. Removing items from the agenda that do not need to be discussed and supervised by everyone together will save time, and it will be easier for participants to focus on the main thing.
3. Smart timing. Virtual meetings tire people out pretty quickly, which is why we suggest setting aside 15 minutes for each agenda item. Of course, board members are required to carefully listen to the report of the top manager, but no one wants to turn a meeting into a boring session.
4. Schedule meetings for a week or two. We suggest you to have one meeting a week for 1.5-2 hours, for four weeks in a row. According to that method, meetings will become more productive, useful and interesting.
5. Build trusting relationships. The board of directors should discuss and make decisions. If you know your colleagues well you can better capture the nuances of communication. Typically, board members get to know each other naturally, during lunches and coffee breaks, but in the case of virtual meetings, getting to know each other needs to be planned in advance.
6. Use breakout rooms wisely. Breakout rooms are a feature of video conferencing services that allow participants to split into multiple groups. In such virtual rooms it is convenient to discuss sensitive issues. There should be no more than three people in each such room, and discussions should take from 10 to 30 minutes. After the discussions in the breakout rooms, the participants should come together again and discuss the proposed amendments.
7. Include speaking breaks in your schedule. If the time frame does not allow each issue to be discussed in the breakout room, set aside time in the schedule for participants to share their views. We recommend adding short breaks so that people can stop and think about what important things have not been said yet.
8. Try to find a replacement for usual offline dinner meetings. Though it is quite hard to replace joint dinners with council members, meeting attendees can still chat with senior executives in a more informal manner even virtually. For example, board members can take turns, two by two, to spend 25 minutes each video chatting with the CEO. After 25 minutes, he goes to the “waiting room”, and the members of the council discuss the information. Then the next top manager enters the room, and everything repeats. This way you can hold a full-fledged meeting, during which the members of the board will have time to communicate informally with top managers.
9. Invite interesting guests. It is very easy to join a remote meeting. Invite leading experts from around the world for at least 5-10 minutes to assess your situation or share an expert opinion.
10. Feedback after the meeting. After the meeting, it is important to evaluate how effectively it went. You can collect participant feedback by asking them to fill out a form with questions:
Was the event useful?
How would you rate the effectiveness of the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10?
Why did you give this rating?