How to Conduct Effective Online Board Meetings

Online board meetings can be a great option for nonprofit boards who are unable or not willing to meet in person due to geographic restrictions, travel costs or busy schedules. However they can be challenging to conduct in a way that is efficient and ensures that everyone feels engaged and included. Following some basic best practices can make these virtual meetings more efficient and effective.

Clearly communicate meeting materials to board members prior to the meeting so that they can review and answer questions prior to the conference call. This will make the meeting more focused, go faster and yield better insights. Mentimeter is an effective presentation tool that allows you to gather crucial insights from participants through dynamic visuals. The material will be later included in the minutes of the meeting. This will provide a permanent record that can be referenced years further down the line.

Encourage participants to utilize the camera features of their devices, so they can communicate with each other, which helps keep everyone involved. Set ground rules to ensure everyone is treated equally. For example the chair can ask for an elevated hand to indicate that someone is talking. Also, they could ask participants to use their mute even when they’re not speaking. It is also recommended to limit meetings to 90 minutes, and to avoid scheduling meetings around meal times in order to prevent participants from eating in front of cameras.

Set up specific discussion topics and the time limit for each item. This will give directors a sense of urgency in addressing items on the agenda and increase productivity. By focusing on specific topics, you can also cut down on distractions during meetings such as talking with other directors or checking emails.