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Four reasons why associations need more than Zoom for successful virtual board meetings

By Paroon Chadha

“Just download Zoom and we’ll be all set to have a virtual board meeting.” Sound familiar?

Immediately after COVID-19 initially spread, a new status quo transformed associations throughout Canada practically overnight. Virtual meetings and remote work replaced physical, in-person interactions for organizations across all industries, demographics, and regions. In their haste to adjust, these associations came to the understandable – yet erroneous – conclusion that web conferencing software (e.g., Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.) was all an organization needed to replace face-to-face meetings with a virtual meeting.

As these organizations quickly discovered, Zoom does not provide all the tools needed for effective remote meetings and productive collaboration. Downloading and installing Zoom was a necessary, critical step, yes, but only the first to host successful virtual meetings.

4 REASONS WHY ZOOM — AND OTHER WEB CONFERENCING APPS — ARE NOT ENOUGH

With many Canadian associations moving toward a hybrid board meeting model (i.e., a meeting where attendees are either in person or virtual), it’s more important than ever to understand what web conferencing apps do well and where they fall short.

Here are four reasons why Zoom and other web conferencing apps are not enough for successful virtual meetings – and the solution.

1. WEB CONFERENCING APPS DO ONE THING WELL BUT DON’T GO FAR ENOUGH

Web conferencing apps do one thing well: they make it easy to invite and connect people in one place. In effect, they recreate an old-style telephone conference call in an online environment. But virtual meetings are expected to be twice as productive in half the time. In today’s world, you need apps to keep everyone focused, engaged and productive.

2. TOO MANY APPS PRODUCE TOO MUCH CHAOS

Let’s be clear: yes, your association can cobble together all the technologies and software applications that would enable you to hold a virtual meeting. It’s true!

Here are just some of the tools you would need (at a minimum):

•   A document sharing and storage app.

•   A messaging app (with airtight security to keep sensitive information locked away).

•   A collaboration app.

•   A survey app.

•   A polling app.

•   An electronic signature app.

•   A voting app.

•   And so on and so forth.

Web conferencing apps just aren’t built with all that in mind (by design).

Also, each of your virtual attendees would need to download, install and configure each of these apps. And of course, many would require you to purchase each of them or perhaps share a site licence.Then, there would be training and enablement for each tool. Can you and your virtual attendees afford the time and energy to implement and learn multiple software solutions?

3. IT IS NOT THE SEAMLESS INTEGRATED EXPERIENCE USERS DEMAND

Modern software users demand an experience that “just works” and is seamlessly integrated from end-to-end. However, most of the apps needed for an effective virtual meeting do not provide this (see #2). Indeed, most apps were not designed to easily “talk” to each other. It can be frustratingly tricky in real world use – if not impossible – to follow a conversation between multiple people if it is conducted partially over email, video chat, and SMS. Not only do you lose precious time when speed is of the essence, but your association’s board members also lose the right context to make the right decision because they’re too busy trying to remember which app they used to share some essential information.

4. MULTIPLE APPS MEANS MORE SECURITY WEAKNESSES

To protect intellectual property and meet international risk management standards, many organizations have worked hard during the past decade to prioritize data security. This adherence to compliance is considerably weakened once more apps are introduced to the picture. Different apps have different security protocols, some stronger than others. How can you ensure a consistent and constant level of protecting confidentiality and integrity across your virtual meeting?

THE SOLUTION IS ONBOARD AND ZOOM TOGETHER

The OnBoard virtual meeting solution solves these problems. Instead of struggling to assemble a patchwork of a half-dozen software apps, CSAE partner OnBoard provides a secure virtual meeting platform that integrates all of the required functionality (e.g., help boards prepare in advance, keep attendees engaged, execute contracts, conduct surveys, vote, etc.) while hosting Zoom meetings from within. There’s a reduced risk of security breaches such as Zoombombing or password sharing because Zoom meeting links never have to be shared outside OnBoard. Good governance is key to the success of CSAE’s member associations. Now, more than ever, associations should be using technology to enhance their governance policies and procedures. Relying on Zoom alone doesn’t accomplish this. A virtual board meeting solution like OnBoard works in perfect complement with web conferencing apps to help keep everything in the right context, so your association’s board members can make critical decisions safer and faster at your next board meeting.

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