Virtual board meetings offer basic benefits, like no travel and potentially better attendance, and a recent Harvard Business Review article says some fast-adapting companies have found that virtual board meetings are better than the real thing. Other benefits mentioned in the article include improved governance and collaboration through shorter agendas, crisper presentations and broader exposure to key executives and outside experts.
The article quotes several board members providing positive feedback and cites Spencer Stuart’s North American CEO practice leader, Jim Citrin, as saying several CEOs have told him, ‘they’re not going back to the way it was.’ Citrin also predicts most companies will move to a single physical meeting and a series of online sessions throughout the year. The article lists eight tips to prepare for and get the most out of the next virtual board meeting. Here are a few:
– Shorten and energize the agenda – consider building the agenda in 15-minute increments to help avoid virtual meeting fatigue
– Spread sessions over a week or two – instead of holding a 3-day strategy session, one company held a 1 to 2-hour session a week for 4 weeks resulting in more engaged and productive meetings
– Use breakout rooms productively – if possible, keep the groups to no more than 3 participants and keep discussions to no more than 10 to 30 minutes then reconvene the board as a group to hear the report-outs
– Build in “candor breaks” – consider including short candor breaks on the agenda and ask what’s not being said
-Lynn Jokela, TheCorporateCounsel.net July 16, 2020