How to Make Virtual Meetings as Effective as in-Person Ones

Virtual meetings are becoming the new normal. So, besides greatly benefiting from them,

it’s still important to remember the problems many companies may face. Old approaches used for in-person meetings may no longer work.

The main issue with virtual meetings is that it’s more difficult to follow conversations and engage with others than face-to-face meetings, where you directly interact with people. This is because the most talkative team members take charge of the discussion without allowing everyone to contribute.

It’s important to understand which problems to avoid and prepare virtual meetings to be the most effective and productive.

What are virtual board meetings?

Virtual board meetings allow members of the board to attend meetings remotely. Board directors use different messaging and conferencing tools to join these virtual meetings. It’s important that they have a stable internet connection, so they can actively participate in discussions and bring their ideas to the conversation.

Virtual board software can be used for conducting more efficient virtual board meetings. The software offers many advantages, especially when the company works remotely.

Also, there are many cases when a board member cannot attend an in-person meeting. One option for the company is to take a hybrid approach and give certain board members the opportunity to join online. This increases the company’s productivity, as meetings are not postponed or rescheduled, and all important matters are discussed. Through using board management software, the company can experience more opportunities for improved workflow and increased efficiency.

Pros of virtual board meetings

Virtual board meetings may be organized for a variety of reasons. The most common are health concerns, the inability of certain members to attend regular meetings, and time constraints. Board members can experience various benefits by using virtual board software for online meetings:

  • Increased attendance. Conducting meetings online increases accessibility, and thus, attendance. The need for travel is eliminated as everyone can join from anywhere in the world. This makes attendees more willing to participate in the virtual board meeting.
  • Reduced resource spending. Remote board meetings allow for gathering board members without spending much time or money. Everything can be prepared quicker and conducted according to meet expectations. Using a paperless meeting solution  also saves time on meeting preparation. It provides a platform where all important documents, meeting notes, and notifications can be quickly shared.  With travel eliminated, attendees can join from anywhere with only a stable internet connection.
  • Simpler and more effective governance. Corporations rely on virtual meetings for time-sensitive decision-making and frequent communication. With the right tools, like a virtual boardroom, leaders have greater control over their meetings. Virtual board software allows board members to support the company’s governance directly. It also provides a secure online environment where board members can stay in touch without scheduling additional meetings.

Board software also serves as a centralized platform, where meetings can be recorded and shared for further discussions.

Background for the future board assessments

Many board portal providers offer features that improve workflow, including chat features and minute-taking tools for more insightful discussions and simpler meeting planning.

Cons of the virtual board meeting

You also need to be aware of potential risks you may face with virtual board meetings. It’s important to get familiarized with the challenges to avoid them in the future.

  • Reduced engagement. It’s more difficult to keep participants engaged during remote meetings.  Engagement during virtual meetings tends to be lower because they lack face-to-face interaction. As a result,  some passive members get overshadowed by more talkative and engaged members.
  • Technological reliance. The most common issues are due to malfunction of technology and problems with internet connection. Additionally, if using a board portal software that some members may not be familiar with, they may face issues with setup. However, that can be easily fixed as most modern software is intuitive and easy to navigate. However, for issues that require a bit more attention, instructional guides should offer good help.

How to run efficient virtual meetings

The problems described above can be solved easily by following some simple tips. There are several key practices that will help you run virtual meetings more effectively:

  1. Encourage interaction. One of the primary challenges is keeping all participants engaged in the discussion. That’s why it’s important to make sure everyone can add their point or share their ideas. Additionally, having everyone speak at the beginning of the meeting establishes collaboration from the start.
  2. Ask for feedback. After the meeting has ended, all participants should provide their feedback so that future meetings can be better organized.
  3. Use video conferencing tools. Meetings are much more successful with video conferencing tools. As attendees see each other, they are able to build stronger connections and communicate better.
  4. Have a clear agenda. Participants should be able to track discussed topics and points, so the meeting is focused and result-oriented. All attendees should keep track of the agenda and the meeting’s dynamic to make sure time is used effectively.

During the online board meeting, it’s worth following certain practices to ensure their effectiveness. There are many benefits to using board portal software. However, there can also be minor challenges that you should keep in mind when preparing for virtual board meetings.