2020 has been a challenging year. To say the least. The world has been turned on its head and we’ve had to rethink how we do things and what’s important in our lives.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that we need each other. People need people. For support. For inspiration. To get work done. People also need communication tools and meetings are one place where we communicate.

With more people working remotely and many organisations working across timezones it’s time to up our online meeting game. For formal meetings, such as Board of Director meetings, thought and effort need to be put into the online version. How do you set up an online meeting for success? Here are a few things to consider (and a workbook to help).


A standard in-person, three-day Board meeting agenda cannot realistically be held online, especially with participants in multiple time zones. You need to adjust the agenda into smaller blocks over multiple days or even weeks.

  • What dates and times will work best?
  • How much time can your participants be truly engaged in the meeting on any one day?
  • What additional activities could you provide to allow participants to connect or relax?

Agenda Creation

As with any meeting, you need to be clear about the objective of each agenda item (information exchange, discussion, decision) and who is
responsible for that item. By preparing well, you can use your
precious meeting time for real discussion and decision-making,
instead of “only” information sharing.

  • What agenda items can be presented as pre-watch videos?
  • What agenda items need discussion?
  • Which need smaller group discussion?
  • Is a facilitator needed for any items?
  • Are there any agenda items which require a vote or opinion gathering?

Participant Preparation

For a slick and streamlined online meeting agenda to work, the participants
will need to know about it in advance and must commit to reading documents and watching any video presentations before the meeting.

  • Is a “dress rehearsal” required to prepare participants?
  • Do guidelines on how to participate and contribute need to be developed and shared?
  • How will you take questions and manage the discussion?
  • Who is taking minutes, keeping and eye on the time, responsible for technical setup?

Seize the opportunity of having to move your meeting online by taking a fresh look at the agenda, roles, and engagement tools. By adapting to a virtual space with confidence, your online meeting can be efficient, effective and rewarding!

This fillable, reusable pdf will lead you through all the actions and questions required to confidently move your meeting online.

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