How to run remote board meetings effectively

As many now have to work from home due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19), everyone has become accustomed to the fact that more board meetings are taking place online. If you find yourself having to host online board meetings, here are some tips to help you get the most out of them.

Main questions before the board meeting

Before you start scheduling a meeting, ask yourself 3 questions.

Do you need an appointment?

It is better not to hold a meeting in 3 cases:

  1. If you have already made a decision and just want to inform the team, a letter is enough for this.
  2. If a decision is needed urgently, it is unlikely that it will be possible to conduct high-quality preparation in a short time.
  3. If the participants cannot influence the problem – for example, they are looking for solutions for a team in another department.

Is a meeting the most effective solution to a problem? If yes, go to the second question.

Who is needed at the meeting?

When planning the composition of the meeting, you should not follow the principle of the more the better. Invite only those who can solve the problem. The presence of colleagues who are not directly interested in the issue can negatively affect the overall engagement and dynamics. In addition, the more people at the meeting, the more difficult it is to agree.

Why are you meeting?

You should have a clear goal, formulated in verb form.

  • For example: decide what to do to increase sales.
  • Or: find ways to prevent and resolve conflicts within our team.

This goal should be taken into account when planning the structure and timing of the meeting.

How to maintain the right atmosphere in an online meeting

First of all, it is necessary to establish rules that will always apply. The classic list looks like this:

  • Let’s go live with the video.
  • The microphone is turned on only for the one who speaks.
  • “Parking” questions in the chat.
  • Participants do not run: they prepare water in advance and ventilate the room.
  • Participants express thoughts and ideas: there are no stupid questions, every opinion is important.
  • Participants respect the timing: do not be late, do not leave early.

The main rule: during the meeting participants are at the meeting. Involvement matters. Participants do not write messages in slack or any other messenger, we do not answer calls. Participants strive to be here and now – this is the base.

After accepting the rules, the next steps depend on what kind of mood of the participants you need.

  • Concentrated work: set a clear goal that “drives” the participants to conduct a warm-up for concentration.
  • Rapprochement: play a game of acquaintance, thank each other, “highlight” strengths, find common ground.
  • Discussion: create conditions in which everyone will be heard: for example, participants speak in a circle for exactly one minute.
  • Energy Boost: Small Group Work.
  • Energy slump: switch to presentation.
  • Informal setting: change the format: meet in the evening for a glass of wine.

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.

Where to meet

For board meetings, it is best to use special platforms and applications, such as Diligent or Boardable. However, regular services may also work: Zoom, Google Meet.