20 Mar The Future of Board Meetings
Virtual Minute Taking
Like lots of things lately, communication as we know it has changed and virtual meetings have gone from a begrudged necessity to the comfortable new norm across the corporate landscape. With lots of the commonly experienced technical difficulties ironed out over the last year, organizations are now finding that their processes can carry on as normal despite the limitations on gathering in-person. In fact, lots of businesses have found that many of their processes have actually improved due to the en-masse introduction of virtual and hybrid meetings.
This is because online technology has flexibility and staying power: the convenience of meeting virtually wherever participants are located physically will stick around post-pandemic and complement face-to-face gatherings even after restrictions are lifted.
And it won’t just be a choice between meeting in-person or virtually — the technology expands the meeting possibilities to include a hybrid option as well, allowing for a combination of both.
There are many benefits for going fully virtual with meetings or utilizing a hybrid approach, so let’s explore the differences between the two.
Firstly, an all virtual meeting means that every participant logs in to the meeting and attends remotely. They can do so from anywhere in the world and thanks to the pandemic, this has become commonplace across many industries and businesses.
The advantages of virtual meetings are many and as a result, they will likely dictate post-pandemic professional gatherings. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of going fully virtual.
More flexibility for scheduling. Before virtual meetings became commonplace, attendees often experienced scheduling difficulties — participants were expected to be on-site, for example, sometimes well outside regular office hours. Now it’s as simple as dialing in from home where you are able to simply log in after dinner, hold the meeting, and still have family time afterward.
And with participants dialing in from their homes or preferred work locations, it has never been easier to reschedule should a last-minute conflict arise for one of the key members. Availability in general has also increased, which has consequently facilitated further flexibility.
Always start on time. Eliminating the commute to a meeting also increases the chances of them starting on time. Traffic jams or half-eaten meals are no longer issues — you’re already at your workspace and you’re covered. (You may, however, want to keep your video off while you finish breakfast).
Increased efficiency. People love to chat when gathering face-to-face, which can slow the decision-making process and decrease efficiency during a meeting, especially for a larger conference. Virtual interaction has become so popular in the past year for both the personal and business realms that online work meetings now tend to cut right to the chase. This is down to the fact that if we’re going to spend extra time on a video chat, we likely want this time to be spent with loved ones.
Dial in from anywhere. Perhaps the most obvious of all of the advantages of going fully virtual for meetings is that attendees can take part from anywhere in the world. This makes accessibility incredibly simple and most online platforms even provide the option to dial in via telephone if you’ve really gone off the grid and are without Wi-Fi. This makes meeting attendance possible from anywhere with nothing more required than a phone line.
An influx of new knowledge. After nearly a year of restricted physical contact, even the most tech-reluctant now have some comfort level with engaging online, whether for work or personal socializing with family or friends. These technological skills now go beyond virtual meetings and add up to a better understanding of computers overall. This boost in general computer literacy will inevitably lead to increased productivity in the workplace whether you’re at home or in the office.
Share screens, save trees. An ecologically friendly approach to business is something that is growing in importance in the modern era. With screen-sharing becoming the new normal when discussing documents in online meetings, hard copies of reports and supplementary materials have become obsolete in favour of digital copies and counterparts. Paper waste is reduced when our minds are trained to accept these documents in their virtual form, which is fast becoming the norm in society.
Of course, there are still lots of scenarios in which face-to-face interaction is beneficial. Enter the hybrid meeting — a combination of virtual and in-person contact and a form of meeting that in turn, utilizes the benefits of both. But what does a hybrid approach to business communication look like and when should you use it?
Guests dial in. The organization’s key players are able to physically distance together in a large conference room while guests such as industry experts or those conducting virtual minute taking can dial in via teleconference. This helps to limit all in-person interaction to essential participants only which is often required, especially in recent months.
Site visits. Some projects require industry professionals, such as engineers or technicians, to investigate on-site issues, provide recommendations, and undertake critical work that is simply impossible to carry out virtually. When multiple eyes must be on a project, an in-person exploration by one individual with the remaining meeting participants attending by video chat can get the job done effectively.
AGMs. Some routine decisions to be made during an AGM are a no brainer for the virtual platform, while other more sensitive or important decisions such as the election of new board members for example, can benefit from a personal touch. This is where a hybrid AGM can make sense: features such as the approval of the previous AGM minutes and presentation of the president’s report can occur virtually, while voting and the question-and-answer portion can be held in-person. When the weather improves, hybrid meetings will be even more desirable. There will also be many opportunities for outdoor physical distancing for larger meetings or for items requiring in-person discussion or a vote.
One Last Key Ingredient
Even though comfort with online meetings has increased across the board, the proceedings always need at least one individual who knows the technology inside-out and can take the lead on logistics. Particularly for a major meeting such as an AGM, if your organization doesn’t have an in-house tech guru, consider using a professional virtual meeting platform whose services include providing an experienced and capable moderator.
A meeting plagued by tech issues can make your organization appear unprofessional and incompetent. Even worse, with an absence of dedicated software and an objective third party monitoring the proceedings, important decisions that require a vote could be misrepresented or mishandled, which could put your organization in legal jeopardy. Be sure to reserve your professional platform well ahead of time, though – it’s common for the schedules of virtual governance platforms to be filled months in advance.
The Future of Board Meetings – A Summary
To summarize, the future of board meetings is a virtual future, and one that embraces and works with the changes brought about due to the pandemic. The advantages of going at least somewhat virtual are hard to ignore and the simplicity of either a fully virtual or utilizing a hybrid approach means that it’s a bit of a no-brainer for most businesses.
With benefits to participants and businesses on a wider scale such as increased accessibility and flexibility, reduced environmental costs and travel costs, better engagement, and more, virtual and hybrid approaches look set to dominate the boardroom for years to come.
Get in Touch with Minutes Solutions
Minutes Solutions Inc. provides virtual minute taking and transcriptional services for organizations of all kinds. Our team are highly skilled and well-trained when it comes to virtual minute taking and we approach every task with high levels of accuracy and professionalism, working strictly to your requirements and timescales.
To find out more about our virtual minute taking or transcriptional services we provide, or to receive a free quote, please get in touch today. And to book a meeting or view your current meetings, visit our Client Portal.