What are virtual board meetings?
Virtual board meetings are a modern conferencing format that allows directors to attend meetings from anywhere online. Surely, they need video and collaboration tools and a stable internet connection to do this. Besides, experience shows that the more high-quality and multifunctional applications board members choose, the more effective their meetings are.
Thus, an online meeting software can be a lifesaver for a board of directors in many cases. For example, many organizations switch to fully remote collaboration, seemingly making physical directors’ meetings impossible or problematic. By the way, working remotely has been particularly prevalent in the last few years during the Covid-19 pandemic. So, thanks to various business software offering a secure online environment, leaders continue to make crucial decisions, close deals, and collaborate at different distances.
Another reason for the tool demand is that not always board members can be physically present. In such a case, the meeting is called hybrid, as some are present online. Although this format may not seem convenient at first glance, it guarantees that all opinions are taken into account. Moreover, with state-of-the-art technology, you should not worry about the inferiority of a hybrid meeting as tools are explicitly designed for this.
Top tips for efficient online board meetings
The efficiency of an online board meeting mainly depends on how responsibly you approach its holding. Fortunately, sticking to a few simple guidelines leads to a more streamlined overall process, strong board engagement, and better paperwork organization.
- Prepare a detailed agenda. A clear agenda keeps each participant prepared and focused on what matters most. Therefore, you should ensure that all essential items are sufficiently detailed and understandable. And just as important, the document should be accessible on all types of devices through an intuitive interface so that members can easily access data anywhere. By the way, virtual boardrooms include templates for creating agendas and provide secure access to the document for directors.
- Assign responsibilities. Before sharing the agenda, assign the necessary responsibilities to each director. In this way, you will achieve efficient virtual board meetings because everyone will be prepared and meet colleagues’ expectations by completing tasks. Besides, the boardroom software has functions for both assigning and tracking responsibilities.
- Select the most suitable time. When planning time in the board meeting planning process, consider the time zones of all participants, breaks, and lunch hours. However, if it is impossible to find an optimal time for everyone, the best solution would be to hold the meeting in two sessions.
- Control the time of a meeting. First of all, don’t overload directors with tedious discussion topics, but instead dedicate particular time to each issue. In this way, you’ll have more chances to flow smoothly and avoid reduced engagement. If you know a meeting will be long, schedule coffee breaks in advance so that directors don’t get demotivated or exhausted.
- Involve all meeting participants. To engage members, make sure your colleagues can be heard and seen. As an alternative, everyone can announce their presence at the beginning. Next, invite everyone to ask questions and make comments to make the meeting more interactive. Finally, a secretary or other person in charge may take short breaks to let everyone ask questions without interrupting each other.
- Use board software tools to increase engagement. Modern platforms for holding remote board meetings make the event more energetic and interactive. So opt for business software with dozens of online collaboration features. Otherwise, boards are forced to use additional instant messengers and file-sharing services when using basic programs.
- Record meeting minutes. Strive for a sensible balance between thoroughness and brevity so that participants get a valuable resource for tracking the meeting. Also, minute-takers should ensure that the document does not contain informal discussions, personal opinions, or topics that entail legal consequences. It is much easier to do with ready-made templates in virtual boardrooms.
- Send follow-up tasks. At the end of the meeting, each participant should get precise tasks with agreed deadlines. Therefore, directors should know that organized delegation eliminates the nasty consequences of unfinished or unassigned tasks.
Pros of the virtual board meetings
Nowadays, the advantages of a virtual board meeting are much more significant than those of in-person meetings. First of all, this is because all spheres of human life are being digitized, and for business, this phenomenon has a large number of positive aspects. In addition, IT developers have super-high-quality tools for the following improvements, which can change how teams work for the better instantly:
The reason you cannot go on a business trip may lie in travel restrictions, busy schedule, personal circumstances, etc. Either way, a virtual meeting allows you to be present, communicate, and make decisions just like you are in a conference room. So, leaders may be absent only in the most extreme cases.
Organizations do not always have a suitable and large enough room to accommodate all meeting participants. However, with online meetings, there is no need to rent premises and place a large number of people.
Since some participants are often unable to participate in live meetings, a virtual conference allows them to be present despite everything. Thus, your meeting is hybrid, with participants in the physical room and connected through dedicated software. The advantage is that everyone remains an active participant from their desks, makes decisions, and stays on the same wavelength.
Effective board governance
The essence of software for remote meetings is not only to simplify conferences but also to improve board governance. For example, a board chair can track user activities, data usage, task completion, and overall progress on any device at hand. Other parties, in turn, get a centralized platform for data exchange and secure space for communication.
Enhanced opportunities for workflows
Online meeting solutions offer tools for task management, meeting agenda and meeting minutes creation, user tracking, instant messaging, and more. Consequently, users accelerate workflows with features optimized for all tasks.
Cons of the virtual meetings
Despite the board portal’s strengths for holding an efficient board meeting, there are a few minor drawbacks too. However, it is worth noting that the most advanced software providers have already found solutions to fix bugs, saving users from any risks or inconvenience.
- Less tech-savvy attendees may experience technical difficulties in using the platform.
- The software may be unaffordable. However, when in doubt about buying an app, consider the costs of a physical meeting, which is usually not cheap.
- If the internet is down, the user is left out of the meeting.
- Directors are not always sure about data security in storage software. However, it should be said that this concern applies to physically present documents as well.
How to overcome the challenges and run efficient online meetings
As already mentioned, the switch to board management tools may seem difficult. However, there are reliable ways to overcome them and run efficient virtual meetings like a pro.
Get provider support
For users who are not skilled enough, providers offer tremendous support. Thus, specially trained experts help to explore virtual board meeting tools and teach how to use them. As a result, board member engagement enhances significantly. In addition, vendors are available 24/7 to assist customers during workflows.
Choose an affordable service
Opinions about the cost of solutions are wrong because vendors have offers for any budget. To get the best value for money, assess the needs of your board and discuss them with a potential provider. It is important because the service price often varies depending on the client’s requirements.
Study board materials online if you missed a meeting
The software does not work without the Internet, which is a disadvantage that has not yet been fixed. So, if you can’t attend a meeting due to internet issues, turn to the meeting minutes, agenda, and board packs later to stay up to date. By the way, some platforms also record meetings; that is, you can review them at any time.
Make safety a priority
To ensure the quality of software security mechanisms, choose a reliable platform. After all, some providers guarantee 99.9% security of customer data. Therefore, you never worry about hacker attacks or unauthorized use of information since you get secure meeting software for managing permissions, data encryption, compliance with international standards, and more.
What features of virtual board meeting software can be helpful?
The functionality of virtual boardrooms extends to more business tasks than holding a meeting online. So, among the software’s main features, there are:
- ultra-secure data centers
- agenda builders
- options for task management
- video integration, etc.
The joint work of all these tools saves directors time and allows them to devote it to more critical tasks.