Why Virtual Meetings Might Be More Equitable

It just may be that the virtual advisory board meeting allows for a more equitable space than an in-person meeting.

That might sound like a fairly sweeping statement but consider a typical ad board meeting. You have around 15 delegates and among those there are one or two 'Rockstar' key opinion leaders. These individuals will tend to dominate the discussion and your quiet delegates often say very little, although they very likely have valuable contributions to make.

However, over the past few months as the meeting world has moved into the virtual space, we’ve found that, anecdotally at least, a broader number of delegates seem to be more involved and engaged than in the physical space.

Why is that? Is it because each person must wait for their moment to speak? Is there an element of group pressure? Are delegates performing for the camera? Does a virtual environment mean there is no place to hide? Or is it the psychology of feeling you want to give something because of the novelty or even because it’s a safer environment (you’re in your own home after all)?

Injecting levity into the virtual space

There is, of course, more to the success of a virtual meeting than the environment. The skill set of the moderator and chair is paramount. To put it bluntly, a boring moderator in the physical space will still be a boring virtual moderator. However, an engaging physical moderator may not necessarily be as engaging online.

Virtual meetings do require a different approach. The chair needs to understand the team dynamics and the way people contribute. After all, the client is contracting with and funding delegates equally, so you don’t want one delegate contributing 90% of the ideas while the remaining delegates don’t get to share their voice. The question is, does the skill set required of a moderator in the virtual space differ from that needed for in-person meetings?


To read about how virtual ad board meetings can change the dynamic, giving quieter delegates a safer space to be heard - visit Open Audience's blog here.

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