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Organizing board meetings are quite labor-intensive: As the organizer, you not only have to collect and put together the input, you also have to find a date and time on which all board members are available, reserve a location, create an agenda in a way that’s most efficient, and … Well, let’s just say it isn’t easy. And it hasn’t got any easier since the pandemic. From now on though, organizing safe and efficient online board meetings will get easier. Almost effortless (for real). These are the tips you wish you would have had already in 2020 - but it’s never too late. Good luck!
Organizing a board meeting is largely the same as organizing any other formal meeting: you determine who should be present, arrange practical matters, and provide an agenda that you then distribute. It is also important that minutes are taken during the board meeting. Minutes include important takeaways and lists of Tasks and Decisions. The minutes should be approved in the next meeting - so they can serve as legal documents - after which you archive them.
As you know, board meetings are a highly professional event. This means you will have to arrange all practical matters properly. Make sure all board members receive an agenda invite - not days, but preferably weeks before the scheduled date and time. Share the board meeting agenda and all accompanying meeting documents at least a week before the meeting. Board members need time to prepare the meeting. Some have to take action, execute tasks or consult with other parties in order to be able to vote considerately.
As the organizer - and probably the notetaker - it is important to prepare yourself too. You not only share the meeting documents with all participants, you also read all relevant meeting documents yourself.
The fact that board meetings are now online meetings, doesn’t make it easier to organize them properly and maintain a high professional level. You can of course organize board meetings via Google Meet, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but you’ve probably realized by now that these video conferencing tools aren’t ideal nor a perfect replacement for a physical board meeting.
The struggles you might have had: Where do you collect and save meeting documents? How do you share the agenda? How do you vote in a way that is legally approved? Where and how do you make the list of Tasks and Decisions?
Enter board meeting software. Software that runs on Microsoft Teams to be exact - to make the shift to online as smooth and easy as possible.
Good board meeting software supports and facilitates the process of an online board meeting. With the right software, you can easily make annotations in PDFs. It also makes creating agendas and minutes easy. It makes remote meetings well organized and documents easily accessible and stores documents conveniently.
Safe software is just as important. You don’t want your data to be exposed. Security is and will remain an important theme. This applies even more to remote board meetings. Working within your existing Microsoft Office environment, including all its privacy and security measurements, is the safest option.
Make sure the software is working. After all, you want everyone to be busy with the topic of the meeting. Not with lost parts and broken connections. Malfunctioning software is very demotivating and takes an unnecessary amount of time. A professional working environment is also expected during a board meeting. So choose user-friendly software with a pleasant structure that meets the needs of the organization.
When it comes to online board meetings, the length of the meeting is more important than ever. Nobody stays fresh and energetic during an online meeting that lasts for hours. So, when creating the board meeting agenda, schedule short breaks regularly and divide longer meetings into several shorter meetings. You can meet once a month for four hours, but a remote board meeting may work better if you spread it over two or even more meeting moments
Keep the minutes of your board meetings concise, clear, and neutral. Do not include quotes: there is no context on paper. During board meetings, it is common to make lists of tasks and decisions separately. The Task list is the to-do list for after the meeting. You also write down names, so everyone knows what they should do. On the Decisions list, you keep track of the decisions that are made during that meeting.
If you work with meeting software, this is even easier. With user-friendly (!) software, you convert your board meeting agenda into your meeting minutes template in just a few clicks. Certain programs support generating simple Task and Decision lists. This easy way of working within one program saves time before, during, and after the board meeting.
Share the minutes with the board to get their approval, archive the documents and you are done! On to the next online board meeting.
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