Online board meetings demand more engagement than their counterparts offline, and it can prove difficult to figure out how to bring people together in these meetings. Begin by making sure your virtual boardroom is equipped with reliable video conference capabilities, clear communication protocols and sufficient meeting resources. You can then set up protocols to guide participants through online meetings and encourage productive discussions.

Be sure that every item on the agenda is accompanied by an objective for the conversation such as “decide an action item” or “spark new ideas.” This will allow you to move away from the current issue as soon as you’ve achieved your desired result and also avoid overstaying your welcome. Also, establishing the time limit for each discussion point will prevent the discussion from getting lost.

Start with the most critical items on your agenda. In board meetings that are held in person, it is possible to recognize body language signals that signal the other members have something important to say. These cues are difficult to recognize during remote meetings. Start with the most important subjects to ensure that everyone participates in the discussion and feels that their time was well-used.

Utilize a consensus agenda to reduce time spent on more controversial topics that might not have the same impact on your company. Agenda items that aren’t controversial could be voted upon by all members prior to when the meeting begins to allow you to concentrate on what is most important. Additionally, you can invite expert guests to present short talks or insights that will broaden the perspective of the board and cut away the groupthink that is common in boardrooms.

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