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.
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.
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.
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.
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