At their best, board meetings provide space for productive conversations that facilitate real progress, but they can easily descend into off-topic digressions, heated debates about minor points, and individual voices dominating the discussion. So what are some of the ways board managers can ensure that their meetings are harmonious rather than discordant?
It is widely understood that when it comes to meetings of any kind, preparation is key. Board members who have had time to read and digest the information they will be discussing are much more likely to engage in fruitful conversations that lead to concrete outcomes. But in many sectors, this also raises questions about security. With major data breaches drawing more and more attention to the weaknesses in standard electronic communication tools like gmail and Dropbox, organizations are looking for new ways to guarantee board members receive the information they need in a timely fashion.
For many board managers, the solution has been software-based: board portal software is an increasingly popular tool for boards to share information in a secure and straightforward way before the meeting begins. Board portal software providers like Vancouver’s Aprio allow users to access a digital meeting space where they can read and discuss board documents with each other while protected by world-class data security.
Not only does this make it easier to ensure that board members have the information they need, it also increases the likelihood they will work out preliminary issues before the meeting actually begins. One of the many benefits of board management software is that it empowers board members to start the work of the meeting before the meeting itself. In addition to keeping these conversations secure, the portal also guarantees that important information doesn’t get lost in endless email chains.
But board software isn’t just useful in the lead up to the meeting; it can also play an important role in helping the meeting itself run smoothly. A challenge board managers frequently face is making sure that everyone present is able to easily follow the information being presented. This is doubly difficult when some members are participating remotely. Keeping members focussed and engaged with the task at hand is always a challenge, and portals allow board members to access the information they need without being distracted by their email. The information they need is at their fingertips — in some cases, literally: providers like Aprio allow users to access the portal on either desktop or tablet.
Managers who want to make sure their board has the tools it needs to do its work efficiently, productively, and securely are turning to portal software to facilitate discussions in an organized and reliable space. Board portal software provides a safe way to share information, prepare for the meeting in advance, and stay on top of the information being shared in the meeting itself — no wonder it is being adopted by the boards of Crown corporations, credit unions, non-profits, and businesses across North America and around the world.
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