Virtual trustee meetings – the new norm?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Given current events, now would seem the right time to think about how we hold trustee meetings and how we can modernise the way we conduct business.

The Covid-19 outbreak has forced us all to avoid face-to-face meetings and move to virtual meetings. Yet, even without this outbreak, it is often just as effective in this day and age to hold a telephone or video conference. Of course, there will be some meetings that need face-to-face interaction when the pandemic eventually blows over – and in the long-term this is unlikely to pose a problem – but in the vast majority of cases, discussions can be held just as well remotely.

Some trustees already hold meetings remotely and find this to be an efficient, cost effective way to operate trustee business. After all, virtual meetings can help to cut travel costs as well as reducing the carbon footprint, giving greater flexibility for working patterns and allowing all of us all to become more efficient in general. There is also the opportunity to get more people talking and involve more of the client team, other advisers and / or representatives from the sponsor to join at relevant parts of the meeting, all of which can only help to strengthen working relationships. 

We appreciate there may be some barriers to virtual meetings, but we are in an ideal place to help you overcome them, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virtual meetings can be run effectively when using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use technology. Barnett Waddingham has excellent technology – known as ‘Fuze‘ – in place so that meetings can be held wherever we have our laptops, whether this be in the office, working from home or another place of work.  We have a useful guide for clients to help you connect to Fuze, available here.

Most people are very used to holding conference calls but video calls allow for much better interaction between attendees and helps to remove any distractions you might have if you know that you can be seen! Using video conferencing helps to personalise the conversation and keep people engaged. We have long encouraged this approach among our people, leading to better team unity and deeper connections with colleagues.

Top tips for virtual trustee meetings

Virtual trustee meetings should become the norm, not the exception. This means we all need to get better at using the technology we have available to us. Here are some top tips to make a virtual meeting more effective:

  • Use video
  • Have audio dial-in as a backup in case of poor bandwidth
  • Test beforehand
  • Make sure faces are visible
  • Have an agenda and run the meeting properly
  • Hold more frequent meetings with shorter durations
  • Assign a meeting facilitator

The world is different now. We need to communicate differently – but not for the sake of it. Virtual trustee meetings can help to focus on the business in hand– adding genuine value rather than adding to the noise.

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