Video conference is a quarantine-inspired technology that has proven its value well beyond the pandemic. A recent report shows as many as 70% of businesses have adopted some form of flexible work policy, and video conferencing is at the forefront.
With the video conferencing industry expected to double in the next few years, now’s the time to gain an advantage by making the first move.
This guide is designed to equip you to do just that.
We’ll look at some of the best use cases of board meeting through video conferencing, how to adopt it in your communication strategy, and help you distinguish between different video conferencing technologies.
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Are board meetings via video conference appropriate?
Prior to the pandemic, video conferencing was banned for sensitive use cases like board meetings in many places. However, many regulators and decision-makers rolled back these restrictions in the face of the pandemic.
The point here is that you need to consider the legalities of video conferencing in your locality.
Video conferencing for board meetings is most likely inappropriate when discussing the following at a board meeting:
- Periodic financial statements. Audit committee meetings where the board discusses income statements, cash flow projections, and budget matters.
- Board report and prospectus approval. Audit meetings where board members review internal documents and determine which to present to stakeholders outside of board management, from heads of departments to investors and stakeholders, and regulatory agencies.
- Matters concerning mergers, demergers, acquisitions, takeovers, etc. Audit gatherings where companies meetings of board focus on issues concerning the execution and management of mergers and acquisitions, and takeovers, including strategies, governance, oversight, and transactions.
- Approval of amendment acts. Review the necessity of conducting board meetings for deliberations concerning the amendment of internal companies act, budgetary acts, etc., or any new rules necessitated by changes to the external regulatory environment.
Prepping your organization for transitioning to video conferencing
One great thing about board meeting video conferencing is that the current technologies allow for swift integration. However, that doesn’t preclude the need to do your due diligence.
For one, all video conferencing technologies are not all created equal — you need to find one that’ll allow for the seamless onboarding of your board members. Secondly, there is also some important video conferencing etiquette that everyone needs to come to grips with.
This puts more responsibilities on executives, but we’ll look at ways to ease these.
Finding the right tools
When it comes to holding board meetings via video conferencing, nothing beats a board software tool. Unlike other types of video conferencing technologies, board software tools come with tools specifically suited to board meetings. More on that in a bit.
Your meeting participants also need to have compatible devices on their end. They’ll probably need accessories like a microphone and extra lighting. Even more importantly, they need a stable internet connection.
Making regular test runs
Make test runs an integral part of your standard procedure for setting up video conferences. Set aside 5-10 minutes before the meeting to make sure all equipment is running smoothly for every board member.
Giving more responsibilities to the chair
When it comes to virtual board meetings, the chair needs to be more decisive when presiding over these meetings to prevent other directors from going off the cuff or derailing conversation unknowingly.
The chair also needs to ensure that everyone actively participates and that no one hides behind their screen, shying away from making notable contributions.
How to conduct board meeting through video conferencing in four easy steps
Once you decide to conduct virtual board meetings, preparing them is quite easy. With today’s technology, it can all be accomplished in four essential steps.
The planning stage
This is where all the brainstorming is done on various aspects of the video conference, from equipment to etiquette, security, and documentation. The board needs to be prepared with the right tooling and the right mindset.
The rule of thumb is to plan for a two-hour max meeting with multiple breaks — sitting in front of a screen for long periods can be quite excruciating.
Trim your meeting agenda down to what can only be discussed at board meetings — everything else can be communicated through other means like emails or memos.
Test all equipment, from end devices to board management software features, 15 minutes before the start of every meeting.
Setting the agenda
The meeting agenda for a board meeting held via video conferencing should be markedly different from those of traditional board meetings.
For starters, directors should come prepared with all the documents for the meeting at hand, and the introduction of new documents should be severely limited.
Board members should all show up with notes for questions and comments, having studied all the necessary materials beforehand.
Getting all hands on deck
Given the special preparation needs of board meetings held by video conferencing, it’s important to get everyone involved in the process in one way or another.
Everyone should think of ways to make an effort upfront to help make consequent meetings shorter and more successful.
For instance, some directors can help prepare the necessary documents and presentations, while others can assist with technical issues to ensure the meeting goes smoothly.
Testing and tweaking
Finally, each meeting should serve as a springboard for an even more efficient meeting. Experiment and learn as you go. Before ending each meeting, take a moment to debrief and reflect on the meeting. Note any observations or recommendations that could improve the next meeting.
Even more importantly, it might be worth paying more attention to tools and technologies specific to board meetings held through video conferencing.
Board portals provide a suite of specified tools for video conferencing board meetings. They can offer practical options for tweaking and optimizing your board meetings, from schedulers to board meeting agenda template libraries, survey tools, and task assignment.
Video conferencing could be out of place for sensitive board meetings. However, when it’s been green-lighted, it must be conducted with high-level professionalism and efficiency.
Deploy a streamlined technological setup, prepare everyone mentally and technically, and keep everyone updated regarding the appropriate conduct of board meetings in video conference mode.
Get your board geared up for a successful board meeting via video conferencing today.
Tips for board meeting by video conferencing
- When testing the setup on all ends, lighting should be a key consideration. Ensure excellent lighting on all ends, with no issues with shadowy or blurry images
- Use interactive tactics to keep participants fully engaged. Ideally, bring up an interactive activity every 10 to 15 minutes.
- Keep the meeting lively by switching between long and short agenda items. Participants might become exhausted when they go straight from one long issue to another one.
- Discourage participants from splitting their attention during the meeting — checking their emails or multitasking. There should be multiple intermittent breaks where they can turn their attention elsewhere for a while.
- When they do need to step out for a while, participants should mute their line instead of putting it on hold. Most video conferencing software turns on music when the line is put on hold, which could be a little too disruptive for a board meeting.
- Avoid casual dress when attending board meetings through video conferencing. Corporate looks will help maintain a professional atmosphere to keep participants in the right frame of mind.
- Be patient with everyone. Everyone should be allowed to make their best contribution to such meetings.
Using board portals to improve the outcome of board meetings by video conferencing
Your video conferencing software is the centerpiece of the puzzle, having a significant impact on every other aspect of the video meeting.
With a board portal, you’ll have a technological setup that lets you easily hit the ground running with your board meeting by video conferencing.
Compared to traditional video conferencing software like Zoom or Google Meet, board portals come with an extra set of features for managing a board meeting before, during, and after such a meeting.
Some benefits of running board meeting by video conferencing using board portals include access to features such as:
- Meeting schedulers — for setting up schedules and notifying all participants
- Agenda managers — facilitating a paperless board meeting by allowing participants to collaborate on creating, sharing, and analyzing the necessary agenda documents digitally and ahead of time
- Multiple meeting modes — allowing participants to switch between video, audio, live chatting, and other audio-visual means, depending on convenience
- Presentations — enabling participants to share presentations slides before and during meetings
- Annotations — providing participants with word processors supporting various export formats for taking notes
- Meeting minutes — allowing the company secretary to take board meeting minutes while video conferencing
- Voting and polling — providing support for interactive activities like live polling and voting
- Surveys and feedback — allowing participants to air their opinions on the quality of the meeting and ways to improve going forward
iDeals’ board portal ticks nearly all of these boxes, offering a one-stop software solution for all your video conferencing needs. Plus, it comes with an intuitive interface with a smooth learning curve that makes it easy to bring everyone up to speed.
Time to use the modern board management software!
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How to hold a live board meeting with online video conferencing
Depending on the platform, it could be as easy as setting up a group meeting video link and then sharing the links with participants, who can join simply by clicking the link.
Can the board of directors meet virtually?
Yes, it is absolutely appropriate for a board of directors to meet virtually. Before the pandemic, virtual board meetings were banned for highly sensitive board meetings, but these restrictions have been lifted in many places post-COVID.