Online board meetings require a different level of engagement in comparison to their offline counterparts, and it’s often difficult to find new ways to energize them. It is essential to begin by ensuring that your virtual boardroom is equipped with the most reliable video conferencing technology with clear protocols for communication and adequate meeting facilities for each participant. From there you can establish efficient protocols to guide your participants through the online meeting process and allow them to participate in productive discussion.
Ensure that each agenda item is supported by a goal for conversation that is, for instance “decide on an action plan” or “spark ideas.” This will let you move away from the current discussion as soon as you have achieved your desired outcome, and prevent you from overstaying your welcome. Setting a time limit on each topic will aid in keeping the meeting moving.
Start with the most important items on your agenda. When you are in person for board meetings it is possible to discern body language signals that signal the other members have something important to say. These signals are harder to detect when meetings are held remotely. Start by focusing on the most important issues to ensure that everyone is engaged in the discussion and feels that they have had a good time.
Use a consent agenda to free time for more controversial discussion points that may not have as big of an impact on the organization. All members are able to vote on non-controversial issues prior to the meeting begins, so you can focus on the most important issues. Consider inviting experts to give brief presentations or give insights that can broaden the perspectives of the board and prevent groupthink.