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Virtual and Hybrid Meetings – Good Practice Guide

Virtual Meetings – Do’s

  • CHAIR: Introduce the meeting with a reminder to:
    • ask people to identify themselves briefly
    • always mute when not speaking
    • remember to unmute before speaking
  • Keep meetings short but treat regular breaks as an agenda item
  • Hold focused, separate meetings for issues requiring detailed discussion
  • Separate out correspondence-only matters
  • Consider separate training sessions
  • Take papers as read wherever sensible
    CHAIR: use judgement and ask for confirmation
  • Check attendees have their own copies of materials and will follow along
  • Ask presenters to reference page numbers when referring to their papers
  • Encourage questions for understanding/detailed comments to be raised offline and in advance if material to a decision
  • Advisers and others only to attend for the items they are talking to
  • Include a ‘pause’ before major decisions, to ensure a genuine opportunity for dissent
  • CHAIR: consider introducing a brief meeting review for Trustees only at the end of a meeting to encourage frank feedback

Virtual Meetings – Don’ts

  • Keep going over lunch without any break
  • Have multiple additional meetings to shorten the main board agenda
  • Completely forget trustee training requirements
  • Maintain a temporary quorum or other emergency measures for longer than necessary
  • Fail to allow advisers to present key documents, e.g. auditors’ report, GMPE or Buy-in Project updates
  • Screen-share for every single item
  • Assume that silence is agreement or perfect understanding
  • Drive the meeting forward to finish in the shortest possible time.

Hybrid Meetings

Before the meeting:

  • Consider the best location (geographically)
  • Decide who is the best host: what is their meeting policy?
  • Decide where the Chair sits: 
  • - May not be the obvious ‘head of the table’ seat
  • - Should be positioned so remote participants can see him/her clearly
  • Designated individual responsible for tech and managing waiting room
  • Login and test the room VC set up at least 15 mins before the meeting starts
  • Room camera should be adjusted/optimised
  • Microphones should be positioned close to those likely to be speaking most
  • Meeting set up: is distancing required?
  • For in person attendees, consider the sponsor’s policy: do not make it uncomfortable for people to refuse e.g. a handshake/close seating.

During the meeting:

  • Chair should ask remote participants if they can hear clearly (and ask again after breaks)
  • Chair should make every effort to make sure remote participants feel included e.g. take time to ask them if they have any questions or are happy with a proposed decision
  • Try to avoid sharing of slides on screen, better to ask participants to refer to their own copies
  • Capture learnings from each meeting at the end of the meeting while the virtual attendees are still ‘in the room’.

To find out more about effective management of trustee meetings contact Sankar Mahalingham sankar.mahalingham@lawdeb.com, Director of Pegasus our outsourced pensions management team.