As the virtual meeting era evolves, we're learning best practices on the fly. Your board can get ahead by keeping in mind the positives and negatives.
In-person board meetings may have once been your only option, but Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms provide convenient alternatives that can give your organization’s board of directors more ways to host various types of meetings.
Read on for an overview of how Zoom board meetings work, some of the most important pros and cons to consider when determining whether virtual meetings are a good fit for your board, and helpful tips for planning and executing successful Zoom board meetings.
What is a Zoom Board Meeting?
A Zoom board meeting is a board meeting held virtually on a videoconferencing platform. What seemed like a short-term solution when the pandemic hit is now a permanent fixture of daily life. Some boards host their meetings entirely over Zoom, while others use Zoom to offer a hybrid meeting component for board members who can’t attend a board meeting in person.
Zoom Board Meetings: Pros
Zoom offers several benefits that make it an excellent choice for hosting some or all of your organization’s board meetings. Here are several key reasons to consider adding Zoom meetings to your board’s toolbox.
Zoom board meetings allow your board members to join from the comfort of their home or office, which makes meetings easier for them to fit into their already busy schedules. This option also allows board members who are out of town during a particular meeting to attend, as well as for members of large boards who do not live in the same town to meet without having to travel.
Although any tech tool comes with some type of learning curve, many Zoom users find the platform easier to navigate than other videoconferencing options. Your board members only need to click on a link that is emailed to them in advance to join meetings, and they do not even need to create a Zoom account to participate, which makes it easy for members to quickly join from any device.
The platform also provides straightforward options for users to control their own video and microphone and for meeting organizers to mute everyone but the speaker to prevent unnecessary sounds, which increases your options for accommodating various meeting formats.
Not every meeting needs to be limited to your board members, and the flexibility of allowing users to join Zoom meetings from anywhere in the world makes it easier than ever to invite leaders within your industry or other guest speakers to meet with your board. This option gives you a higher level of flexibility when it comes to planning supplemental activities that help your board become even more effective and innovative leaders of your organization.
Ability to Record Meetings
Zoom comes with the built-in ability to record meetings, which makes it easy for members that could not attend to catch up. Although it is still important for your board’s secretary to be diligent about taking thorough minutes, this feature can also be helpful if questions arise about specific points that were discussed during previous meetings.
Zoom Board Meetings: Cons
Zoom can be a valuable tool under the right circumstances, but it comes with drawbacks that may not make it the best fit for every board meeting. Here are some of the most common reasons to consider limiting your board’s use of Zoom.
While hosting virtual board meetings is legal in most states, there are privacy concerns to consider. Many of the features that make Zoom easy to use can also make it easy for the wrong people to access your information, which can be especially problematic if your board handles confidential or otherwise sensitive information.
Zoom meetings are prone to “Zoombombing,” or unauthorized users gaining access to your meetings, which means that keeping careful track of your access links is crucial if you decide to host meetings fully or partially online.
Not every member of your board may have an internet connection that is strong enough and stable enough to support uninterrupted Zoom meetings, and some board members in rural areas may not have internet access at home at all. These members will not be able to contribute as much to your meetings or get as much out of them, which can reduce the overall productivity of your board meetings.
Not Always Free
Zoom offers free basic accounts, but meetings are capped at 40 minutes. To get the most out of its functionality, a paid subscription is recommended. At about $150 annually per member, the costs can add up, especially for nonprofit organizations.
How to Prepare for a Zoom Board Meeting
Preparing for a Zoom meeting looks much like preparing for an in-person board meeting, but you will also need to send the link to every meeting to each of your board members in advance. This means you will need to have a current list of each member’s email addresses to make sure no one has problems getting into the meeting. It can also be helpful to ask members to join early enough to test and adjust their settings as needed.
How Technology Improves Board Meeting Effectiveness
Zoom and other tech tools can increase your options for getting the most out of your board meetings and keeping track of details that are discussed at each meeting. OnBoard is a comprehensive board management software portal that integrates smoothly with Zoom and is packed with a wide range of other features to help you manage every digital aspect of keeping your board of directors organized in one place.
Want to get started with board management software? Check out our free Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide to determine the right solution for your board.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Items Are Needed for a Zoom Board Meeting?
Zoom board meetings are only a reasonable option if each board member has a reliable internet connection and a device that is capable of running the program with minimal disruptions. If any of your board members don't have these items, it can be helpful to allow access to your organization's devices and office space during meetings to help make virtual meetings work for everyone.
How Do You Conduct a Zoom Board Meeting?
You will need to start by allowing each board member into your virtual meeting space once they click on the link that you send to them in advance. Meetings can then proceed much as they would during in-person meetings, except participants may need to unmute themselves before speaking to ensure everyone can hear them. Speakers will also need to remember to share their screens when discussing presentations, charts, videos, or other visual tools.
Ready to take your meeting agenda and minutes to the next level? Request a demo or a free trial of OnBoard, the board intelligence platform that empowers boards and committees to hold more effective, informed, and uncomplicated meetings.
About The Author
- Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.
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