As the pandemic continues to rage across the globe, remote board meetings have become standard practice in areas where they are legal. If it’s time for your board of directors to get in touch, try these tips to make sure that your incredibly important virtual meeting goes off without a hitch.

Get Comfortable with Your Software

Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype, or a private board meeting software, you should make sure that you know how to use it perfectly well before the meeting starts. Download the software and read the entire tutorial before you make any assumptions about how things work.

Once you have the software open, try holding a practice meeting with one of your colleagues. See if you can complete simple tasks like connecting to the meeting room, typing into the chat function, and sharing your screen with other participants.

All members of the team need to be able to use the software, so make sure that your other board members are equally educated. If you’re worried about a serious meeting being interrupted by tech issues, try holding a more casual event a week or two in advance. During this meeting, let board members practice using the software while you play light music and answer their questions.

Choose the Best Audio and Visual Equipment

Virtual meetings are always more successful when everyone can see and hear each other clearly. If you want your meeting to have a professional quality, you should try to give everyone the best equipment that your company can afford.

Everyone attending the meeting will need access to a microphone and a camera. Standardizing this equipment is usually wise, as it means everyone will be able to ask the same person for tech support. Most laptops come with their own webcams, but you can also purchase individual cameras that may be higher quality. Make sure that everyone knows how to use their new camera and headset before the meeting starts.

Start the Meeting Early

Tech issues always seem to arise right before virtual meetings begin. To prevent mishaps from ruining your plans, try to be in the meeting room at least fifteen minutes before the event is scheduled to begin. As the host, you’ll want to be there to greet people and help them with any problems they might have.

Another smart tactic is to schedule the meeting to start half an hour earlier than necessary. This will make sure that even if someone is late, they won’t miss any of the important content.

Stick to Your Agenda

Remote board meetings aren’t that different from the ones that occur in-person. If you want people to stay on track, you’ll need to have an agenda with scripted talking points. Type this out in advance, but make sure that it’s not visible on your screen sharing software. If you need to, consider printing your agenda out for easy reference.

As with a normal meeting, assume that each talking point to take up about five to ten minutes of your time. If this is your first virtual meeting, budget a few extra minutes for each discussion segment to account for participants being unfamiliar with their software.

Engage with Your Audience

During in-person meetings, it’s easy for people to raise their hand and ask a question. But when you switch to a virtual environment, many leaders find that participation drops dramatically as people lean back and treat the meeting like yet another online video.

To solve this problem, make sure to pause and engage with the other attendees regularly. Ask if people have questions, read anything that has been typed into chat, and check that everyone understands the point before you move on.

Record the Proceedings

One of the primary risks of virtual meetings is that someone will get disconnected partway through. This is why most types of meeting software will give you the option to record your proceedings. When you’re done, you can post a video with the entire meeting for anyone who missed out to review on their own time.

If you decide to record your meeting, remember to export it as a video file that everyone will be able to access. Depending on how confidential the meeting was, you may want to keep the recording behind a strong password. Your meeting software may offer this feature, or you may need to talk to your IT department for a solution. Some types of software also let you export a transcript of the audio, which can be a huge time saver for busy board members. Remote board meetings are easy to run if you know your way around a computer. Learn your software, educate the other participants, and give yourself extra time for mishaps. Work-from-home isn’t going away anytime soon, so expect virtual meetings to become the new standard of corporate business around the globe.