As Covid-19 continues to spread, we must adjust and become accustomed to virtual meetings. Effective preparation can result in a smooth transition from the physical to a virtual boardroom, and here are some tips to assist you.
1. Choose the platform
There are various platforms available for meetings such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom Meetings. Choosing the appropriate platform should be based on the requirements for the meeting, for example, platforms that allow participants to raise their hands when they want to speak or vote on a matter, a platform that provides for screen-sharing when making presentations during the session and so forth. Once a platform has been selected, do a practice run to make sure you are comfortable with the functionalities and ensure all participants have access to the platform on their devices.
2. Utilise board portal software
Board portal software has several advantages, e.g., enabling online voting, consent agenda approvals, collecting e-signatures, remote meeting collaboration, automated anonymous questionnaires, and so forth. Board portals allow board members to access digital governance documents including board papers through mobile devices and securely communicate with one another ahead of the meeting. Board members can access information the moment it is published and receive updates automatically. Additionally, it allows for late additions to the board papers to be added without creating confusion. Utilising a secure board portal software to distribute board papers compliments the use of a video platform and simplifies the virtual board meeting experience.
3. Prepare the setting
Dress professionally as if you were attending a physical board meeting. Identify a private area that is free of distractions to engage in the virtual meeting. Test the camera and microphone before the meeting starts: make sure that the camera is switched on and check the mute and unmute functions of the microphone (mute for when you are listening and unmute for when you are speaking). Ensure the webcam is raised to eye level and look at the camera when talking.
4. During the meeting
Ensure that punctuality is observed and set out meeting protocols, e.g., when questions are allowed, etc., at the start of the meeting. Follow the agenda and outline the next steps after each section. When presenting a topic, make use of screen sharing to guide the conversation to ensure that board members are on the same page. During the meeting, do not mute the sound to take a phone call, check your email or get up and leave the room. It is important to give your full attention, as you would in a physical meeting.
Virtual board meetings can be a great asset if utilised properly. I hope that these tips have inspired you to start planning your next virtual board meeting.