Challenges of Conducting a Board Meeting Online

Online board meetings can improve scheduling options, eliminating time constraints from travel and monetary constraints from flights and hotels. They also can help reduce groupthink and increase diversity among board members. However, embracing the virtual world has its own challenges that may lead to less-than-effective meetings.

To transition from meetings in person to virtual ones, boards should change their communication and work. Many of the elements that aid in the communication that occurs during in-person meetings, such as the physical board book as well as digital presentations and sharing documents, must be recreated to be used in an online board meeting. This can be challenging for board members who are not familiar with the technology. The use of a simple board software application can simplify the process, but additional instruction on the tool may be required for board members to be successful.

Engaging the audience and keeping it productive is another challenge when conducting an online board meeting. Distractions from discussions can consume time and distract from the most important topics on the agenda. Making an agenda with 20 percent less items and breaking discussions into 15 minute increments can help to reduce this problem. Discussion forums for new issues could also be helpful.

It is also important for remote attendees to be able to see the faces of in-room attendees. This can be accomplished by avoiding backgrounds or moving attendees away from light sources like windows which can glare onto the screen and obscure the image for other board members. Refraining from distractions such as cell phones and other gadgets will help participants focus on the discussion.