Virtual meetings are becoming more common for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because they save time and money by reducing travel expenses, give board members more flexibility, or boost communication. Virtual meetings have many benefits but they also have some potential pitfalls. Virtual meetings can be as effective as in-person ones if they are well-prepared. However there are a few things to consider when planning and hosting such events.

Make sure everyone has the appropriate equipment and software. It can be difficult to keep everyone engaged when there are technical difficulties that prevent attendees from communicating with one another or watching presentations, or even using their cameras. It is a good idea to provide everyone with clear instructions for checking their cameras, microphones and speakers prior to the start of the meeting to avoid these issues.

Make an agenda ahead of time to keep the discussion on track. If you don’t have an agenda, the gathering can become bogged down by side-bars. Be sure that all topics are addressed within the time limit to ensure that your attendees don’t feel that nothing was accomplished or that their time was wasted.

It is hard to recreate the camaraderie that occurs during board meetings in person. There are ways to improve your online experience by adding fun and engaging activities like breaks or a game. Use regular feedback loops to collect information about the way directors and members are participating in the meeting. Find out what works and what doesn’t, and what can be improved.

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