Online board meetings demand more engagement than their counterparts offline, and it can prove difficult to figure out ways to make these meetings more lively. Start by making sure that your virtual boardroom is equipped with reliable video conference, clear communication protocols and sufficient meeting resources. From there you can create efficient protocols to guide your participants through the online meeting process and make it easier for them to engage in productive discussion.

Make sure that each agenda item is supported by a goal for conversation for example “decide on an action plan” or “spark ideas.” This will let you move away from the current discussion as soon as you’ve achieved your desired result and also avoid overstaying your welcome. Additionally, setting an time limit for each discussion topic will help prevent the meeting from dragging on.

Begin with the most important things on your agenda. In board meetings that are held in person, it’s possible to discern body language signals to tell when members have important things to say. These signals are harder to recognize in remote meetings. Beginning with the most urgent issues will ensure that everyone participates in the discussion and will feel their time has been well spent.

Use the consent agenda to save time for more controversial discussions that may not have as significant of an impact on the group. Noncontroversial agenda items can be voted upon by all members before the meeting begins and allow you to concentrate on the things that matter most. Consider inviting experts to make brief presentations or give insights that will broaden the views of the board and avoid groupthink.

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