Virtual Future and Modern Governance 

Business must go on(line)

Virtual meetings are now an everyday tool Crédit: Getty Images

Virtual meetings are now an everyday tool Crédit: Getty Images

Travel limitations or not, current pandemic and beyond, the need for alternative ways to govern effectively outside the confines of meeting room walls has been brought to the foreground. Proven more essential than ever, virtual meetings have both been a disruptor to our traditional work habits as well as an enabler, offering the next best thing to in-person contact.  

Given the multitude of online solutions, not only does this situation call for companies to evaluate the purpose of a workspace, but also what constitutes “essential” business travel. Those who have been less keen on turning to technology in the past have had to accept that many face-to-face meetings - from executive sessions to meetings with investors - can be substituted for virtual.

Many employers are assessing how habitual work methods can be adapted and improved in the context of remote work, while sustaining a high level of service and professionalism. Having the right technology in place is one thing, but you can’t underestimate the time and effort needed to prepare a virtual meeting for it to run smoothly.

Organising a successful face-to-face meeting already comes with its own challenges: how to structure and lead it and be clear

Jesse Thiel,  Regional Sales Director,  Diligent Luxembourg 

Lost in transition

“Organising a successful face-to-face meeting already comes with its own challenges: how to structure and lead it and be clear,” explains Jesse Thiel, Regional Sales Director at Diligent. “Sitting behind a screen is more difficult: there is less interaction and there can be long silences. People often feel less comfortable, the flow is less spontaneous or natural, allowing less room for creativity. It’s just not the same. When designing our virtual meeting toolkit, we asked: How can we encourage and increase engagement? How can we avoid technological hiccups as well as distractions during the meeting? What about security?”

As anyone working from home by now will attest, virtual is not without its shortcomings. But it is the next best thing, and some have found, can even be better - with the right preparation and process. To ensure that as little as possible is lost in the transition from room to screen, there are ways to learn how to get the most out of the virtual meeting sphere.

Engaged, effective, secure

Video conferences have become the most important collaboration tool for maintaining engagement, workflow and decision-making at a time of crisis when business must go on. With the right toolkit to optimise online interaction, effective and secure remote governance is more than possible. Some simple guidelines can avoid frustrations and make all the difference:

·       Circulate meeting etiquette beforehand, such as mute when not speaking and how to use the functionalities like screen sharing.

·       Consider a trial run and even light training for larger, important meetings.

·       Arrive prepared. Obvious, but often overlooked. Read the pre-distributed materials to not hold the meeting back. 

·       Schedule breaks but stay connected. Time out keeps people refreshed and can offer a touchpoint for a more casual chat.

·       Don’t shy away from video. More engaging that audio alone, visuals enable deeper engagement, which is particularly important for teams that are geographically dispersed.

·       Message with caution. Sharing confidential information through the chat function can be damaging to companies as they are not secure.

·       Keep it simple and ask for feedback. We are all learning and adjusting as we go!

Have a more successful remote work experience using the Diligent Virtual Meeting Toolkit , designed by Diligent. Diligent aspires to empower board leaders and executives with the technology, insights and processes their organization needs to govern, endure and thrive in the digital age. That’s Modern Governance.