Tips for Holding Virtual Meetings during COVID-19
With the current uncertainty around the impact of Covid-19 and the limitations on travel and face to face meetings, most boards and board committees (as well as many other bodies) will for the foreseeable future have to meet virtually. With this in mind, we have provided some handy tips to remember when conducting virtual meetings.
The People & Processes
1. The Chair
- Work with Secretary to prepare for the meeting in advance;
- Set “ground rules” and the agenda keeping in mind the new virtual format for the meeting;
- Manage the meeting as you would normally and keep to time slots were allocated for agenda items;
- Familiarise yourself with the technology and the different features available that will help to conduct the meeting in an effective manner;
- Have a checklist in place that will help you prepare for and conduct the meeting.
2. The Secretary
- Prepare and circulate meeting invite and associated paperwork well in advance of meeting to allow people to raise queries;
- Ensure all attendees have the correct technology;
- Have a contingency plan;
- Your role is to assist the Chair in their role and support others;
- Have a checklist in place that will help you carry out your duties before, during and after the meeting.
3. Non-Executive Directors
- Contribution will be much the same as any other meeting;
- Ensure you familiarise yourself with papers in advance of meeting;
- Make sure you can use the technology and ask for help if needed;
- Read the “ground rules” prior to the meeting;
- Don’t be afraid to speak but defer to the Chair
4. Guest Speakers and Contributors to Meeting
- Provide material resources in good time in advance of the meeting to allow people to familiarise themselves with content;
- If not part of the full meeting, then join the meeting at the allocated time slot detailed in your email invitation;
- Speak clearly;
- Keep to your allocated time, trying not to run over;
- Have a checklist in place that will help you conduct your presentation in a timely and succinct manner.
- Make sure everyone has the right equipment;
- Choose the best online meeting app for your organisation;
- Make sure everyone is happy with security levels;
- Use passwords where possible to ensure only those who’s should be present for meeting are able to join the meeting;
- Have practice sessions to aid anyone who needs help with using the technology;
- Provide links to tutorials that will assist with using the apps;
- Remember to position computers and laptops with webcams in a place where the view allows other attendees to see you (try to avoid showing only your forehead);
- Open the meeting in good time;
- Have IT support on standby if possible;
- Have a back-up plan
REMEMBER TO EMBRACE & ENJOY THE CHANGE
Further guidance can be found here in The Chartered Governance Institute’s Guidance document.