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I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that I miss in-person meetings. There’s something about face to face interaction that provides a bit more cohesiveness (and allows for a better attention span). While Zoom has been a life-saving alternative, I am eager to get the ball rolling again in person. In a time where we are forced to interact virtually, I’ve been on the hunt to find new ways to optimize virtual board meetings. Especially during the COVID-19 period, board members have a lot on their plate, and it’s critical these virtual meetings are productive, succinct, and packed with action items.

Pick a good time.

If you have board members in different time zones, this could be tricky. Make sure the meeting time you choose is respectful of everyone’s lunch hours and break times. If you can’t find a time that suits everyone, considering scheduling two meeting times so participants can choose, or record the meeting if participants can’t make it at all. Also, make sure you stay strict to your start and end times, just like you would with a normal meeting. Everyone’s time is valuable!

Come with a clear agenda.

If you are the host of the meeting, make sure you go in with a clear outline. What key points need to be covered? Do you need to leave time at the end for questions? What areas do you think will take the longest to cover? Establishing these questions early on will help keep the meeting focused. In addition, consider sending the agenda to participants before the meeting begins. This can be particularly helpful for virtual meetings because people often need extra material to help follow along.

Use video.

Seems self explanatory right? Well if you’re not familiar with virtual meeting tools like Zoom, WebEx, etc, there is typically an option for participants to turn off video and use only the audio function. From personal experience, I highly recommend either encouraging the video function or making it mandatory. It holds everyone accountable and ensures there isn’t any funny business going on in the background! It’s also a good way to stay engaged with the other participants.

Encourage interaction.

Just like an in-person board meeting, the conversation should be a two-way street. I swear, we are like children sometimes when it comes to our attention span! You might feel like a teacher calling out your students at times, but it’s necessary to keep the momentum going.

Add some flare!

Especially during COVID-19, I’m looking for any fun ways to keep the comradery going. Consider adding a fun pick me up to the end of a meeting. Has anyone discovered a new recipe? Or tried a new workout? Maybe some of your participants have kids, and can provide some fun tips for keeping the kids preoccupied (and saving your sanity)! Whatever it is, save a few minutes at the end of the meeting to discuss your personal lives. Remember, we are all in this together and that small chunk of time could be the pick me up someone needs.

Ask for feedback.

Most importantly, ask for feedback! Everybody interacts differently, and something that works well for one person might not work for another. If you’re looking to get the most honest answers, considering sending out an anonymous survey.

Have additional tips? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Leave us a comment below.

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