Holding Meetings in a Digital World

Running an effective meeting takes more skill than you may sometimes imagine.  In addition to the usual issues of running meetings we also have some new challenges in the current crisis, where we can't actually all get together in person to meet. Learning how to conduct and attend remote team meetings can not just keep you safe just now but can save an enormous amount of time in the future. 

For Board members who are busy or based elsewhere it can stop them from being prevented from attending meetings by having the ability to participate remotely. These meetings can help to stay connected, share ideas across your team, and to discuss problems.

Boards and teams that are familiar with attending digital meetings will have a head start when circumstances prevent them from meeting face to face. Thousands of meetings are cancelled each year due to poor weather and in more recent days a National Emergency is preventing people from meeting to discuss business.

The first thing is to be prepared, just as you would any meeting. Check equipment, notes, the agenda, the limitations of the conversation and how the meeting will end. Avoid introducing too many new methods of digital engagement too soon. Select one platform and stick with it so that your team becomes familiar with meeting in that way.

Two platforms that you might consider:- 

The first is Zoom and this can be accessed on a laptop, iPad or smart phone. There is a free option for up to 40 minutes and there are several paid options. Meetings can be recorded. 

Another option is Skype.  We have separate information on how to use these in our Digital Section.

Key points:

  • Bear in mind that you may have to deal with poor connections at times, this is one of the downsides of remote working. Help to manage this by suggesting people who have less band width to switch to audio only.

  • Make sure that you give plenty of notice for meetings, providing papers in advance and giving people a chance to prepare.

  • Arrange the agenda so that you have sufficient time to cover the whole agenda and haven't put too much on for one meeting. Make sure the most important aspects are dealt with first

  • Remember that you need to ensure certain things are dealt with at each meeting

  • Meetings will be helped along if someone chairs and the agenda is used to to keep participants focused.

  • Another downside to digital platforms is that interruptions seem more pronounced on a digital platform due to delays and apologies. give space on the agenda for that.

  • Remember that if you have people both physically there and some on the phone that you shouldn't be giving precedent to those there over those on the phone or through the computer.

Links for more information

How to hold effective Nonprofit meetings for dummies 
Who doesn't love a 'for dummies' edition, some tips to consider when you are holding or chairing a meeting generally