Board Meetings via Videoconference

The TWICE board has been meeting over videoconference since we started in 2001. The “Jazz workshop” leadership have always met over videoconferencing since it started in 2005.

So it’s a little amusing to me to read articles like this one from the Wall Street Journal. (Unfortunately I’m a little slow in blogging this 4/25/11 article, so you can only read the full article with a subscription now.)

As videoconferencing technology becomes more sophisticated, it is slowly moving up the corporate ladder to the boardroom.

In the article, board of director concerns with videoconferencing were listed while also describing the growing use of VC:

  • people feeling “at a distance”
  • people getting less involved over VC than they would face to face
  • lack of ability to have side conversations

You may think of additional issues from your experience.

On the TWICE board, we have tried to bridge the distance in a variety of ways:

  • Side conversations with a back channel chat tool such as Skype
  • A “roundtable” section at the end of the agenda for people to share their projects, programs, ideas, questions, issues
  • People make appointments with each other after the meeting for further conversation or switch to the phone after the VC
  • The chair of the meeting with call specifically on people who haven’t commented recently
  • We use the split screen to have everyone seen
  • We use thumbs up or similar gestures for voting or getting attention or requesting the floor
  • We meet TWICE a year face to face
  • We try to be deliberate about collaborating and connecting with each other outside of the official board meetings

What tips would you add for making videoconference board meetings more effective?

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