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Virtual meetings are becoming more common in the sense that they save time and money by reducing travel expenses, allow board members more flexibility, or boost communication. The benefits are clear however they’re not without pitfalls. Virtual meetings can be just as effective as in-person ones in the event that they are properly planned. However, there are a few things to consider when planning and hosting these events.

Ensure everyone has the right equipment and software. It isn’t easy to keep everyone engaged when there are technical difficulties that prevent participants from hearing one another and interacting with presentations, or using their camera. It is a good idea to give all attendees detailed instructions on how to check their cameras, microphones and speakers before the meeting starts to eliminate these problems.

Be sure that the agenda has been prepared prior to the meeting to keep discussions on track. If you don’t establish a schedule, the meeting could get slowed down by side-bars. Make sure that all topics have been covered within the time frame you have set to avoid attendees feeling that they didn’t accomplish anything or that their time has been wasted.

The camaraderie and discussions that take place during in-person board meetings are difficult to recreate online. However, there are ways to enhance your virtual experience by engaging and fun activities like breakout sessions or even a test. Utilize feedback loops on a regular basis to collect information about how directors and members are taking part in the meeting. Find out what is working and what’s not, and what could be improved.

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