The Remote Board Meeting Guide: How to Connect from Afar

Whether your organization is a national association with board members all over, or a local chapter with the occasional absent member, remote board meetings can be a huge benefit. However, engaging board meetings from across great distances don’t happen by accident. There are some important considerations of human behavior to consider for optimal remote attendance.

These remote board meeting tips can help you have a productive nonprofit board meeting, whether the whole board is remote or you just have the occasional member calling in.

Face Time Is Best

It can be tempting if you are the remote attendee to literally want to “phone it in.” Contrary to that urge though, everyone will be more engaged when video is used as much as possible. Not only is the remote member more invested in the proceedings since they know they can be seen, but the other board members will be able to read body language and nonverbal communication better, too.

This has a variety of advantages. For one thing, if someone isn’t visible, it’s easy to forget they are even “there.” With a video image, the remote board meeting attendee won’t be left out of the discussion. They can also read the room a bit and have a better understanding of how a discussion is actually going outside of the words being spoken.

Remote Board Meeting Etiquette

If your entire meeting is remote, good board meeting etiquette is more important than ever. However, the same rules apply to even a remote board meeting attendee or two.

Here are a few rules to guide a meeting with remote attendees:

  • Make sure EVERYONE speaks at the beginning of the meeting. This will encourage more participation throughout and remind attendees who all is present.
  • Periodically check in with remote attendees to see if they have anything to add to the discussion. You may even pause after each main topic and ask the remote board meeting participants if they have anything to add. Otherwise, it can be hard to break into a discussion from a remote location.
  • Limit side discussions. This is a great rule for any meeting, but it’s especially important with video or phone attendees. If most board members are in the same room, be sure they aren’t having small discussions outside the main conversation. This is a recipe to leave remote attendees out.
  • Have all preparation documents distributed well ahead of time. If everyone isn’t in the same room, it’s extra important that all remote board members are looking at the same materials. Regardless of how you distribute them, include another link in the video meeting invitation.

Keep Board Service Personal

Regardless of your remote board meeting policies, try to have a physical meeting on a regular basis. Even if it is just a yearly board retreat, rapport and engagement will be better with an occasional face-to-face meeting. In between live meetings, help everyone stay connected with photos, mission moments, discussions, and other connections. There’s no reason why a remote board can’t be a tight-knit board! It just takes some planning and intentionality.

Interested in how to make your board of directors more productive through the effective use of technology? Boardable is a software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. Find the best meeting times, securely store all of your documents, archive discussion threads and more—all in one board portal. Click below to schedule a demo with a member of our Boardable team.

Schedule My Demo


Have a remote meeting coming up? Try distributing your documents with Boardable.