Online board meetings demand a different level engagement than their counterparts in offline meetings, and it can prove difficult to find ways to energize these meetings. It’s essential to begin by ensuring that your virtual boardroom is outfitted with high-quality video conferencing technology, clear communication protocols and adequate meeting resources for every participant. From there you can create efficient protocols to guide participants through the online meeting process and help participants to participate in productive discussions.

Be sure that each item on the agenda is accompanied by a goal for the discussion like “decide an action item” or “spark new ideas.” This will help you move on from the topic at hand as soon as the desired outcome has been reached and avoid overstaying your meeting’s time. Also, setting a time limit for each discussion point can help keep the discussion from getting lost.

Begin with the most important items on your agenda. When you attend board meetings in person, it is possible to spot body language signals that indicate when members have important things to say. However, these are harder to discern when remote meetings are held. Start by focusing on the most important issues to ensure that everyone is engaged in the discussion and feels that their time was spent well.

Use a consensus agenda for your meetings to make it easier to avoid more controversial topics of discussion that may not have the same impact on your organization. Everyone can vote on non-controversial issues prior to the meeting gets underway, so you can concentrate on the most important issues. Think about inviting experts to give brief presentations or give insights that will broaden the perspective of the board and avoid groupthink.