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Case Study: Pivoting to Virtual

“The ability of an organization to remain nimble and to quickly adapt to changing environmental circumstances is key during this challenging time. The ABWM Board and its management partners have had multiple critical decisions to make throughout this pandemic and have embraced technology to continue to fulfill the mission and strategy of the organization. Our Zoom spring Board meeting was efficient, well-organized, and productive, and I am proud of the ABWM’s ability to pivot quickly to ensure ongoing service excellence to our diplomates.”

 – Gayle Lindsey, PT, MBA, MHSM, CWS, ABWM Board President

AMS Client, the American Board of Wound Management’s Spring 2020 Board of Directors meeting was due to take place in April 2020 in California. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across America and increasingly stringent travel restrictions were put in place, it became clear that the in-person meeting could not go ahead as planned. Therefore, the decision was made to conduct the meeting virtually.

The first step was to decide which virtual meeting platform to use to host the meeting – after all, there are many options – Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom and GoToMeeting, to name a few. After evaluating these platforms across a number of criteria, including ease of use, chat and screen-sharing functionality, licensing and subscription cost, the security of the platform and participants’ familiarity/experience with each platform, the ABWM opted to use Zoom for their Board of Directors meeting.

The second step was to find a meeting date and time that worked for everyone. It was agreed that the meeting should take place on the same day as the original trip was due to begin, as everyone already had the time blocked off in their calendars. Finding a meeting time was slightly trickier, given participants were spread across four different time zones. A compromise was reached, as some participants agreed to join the meeting early in the morning, and others agreed to remain in the meeting late, past regular working hours.

The next step was to develop a pared down agenda that would cover all of the necessary governance and policy issues, but would cut out any superfluous or less time-sensitive matters which could be communicated via email or discussed at a later meeting. A detailed agenda was drawn up, and an estimated time slot was assigned to each agenda point. The agenda also contained detailed references to any required supporting documentation, so board members could easily refer to the correct documents and reports at home. This agenda was shared with board members a week in advance of the board meeting.

In addition to the agenda, a document containing best practice guidelines for using Zoom was distributed to meeting participants in advance, to ensure everyone was prepared and knew what to expect from a virtual board meeting. Recommendations included the following:

  • Download the Zoom app rather than using the browser version
  • Join from a quiet location and use headphones rather than computer audio
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking
  • Turn your video on and ensure your webcam is properly positioned
  • Use the “Gallery View” feature to view all meeting participants simultaneously
  • Use the “Chat” feature to type questions or share links/files

Board members were also encouraged to test out their equipment and conduct a practice Zoom call with ABWM staff in advance of the board meeting.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ABWM headquarters staff assigned themselves specific roles for the purposes of the board meeting: one to host/moderate the meeting itself – to keep participants on track in terms of agenda points and time management; one person to host the meeting from a technical standpoint – to manage participants, screen-sharing and meeting security (i.e. locking the meeting once all participants had joined to prevent “zoom-bombing”); and one person to take meeting notes and manage follow up items. Assigning these clearly defined roles in advance helped eliminate any confusion on the day and ensured the meeting ran as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Following the meeting, the ABWM Board of Directors concluded that the virtual meeting had been a success, thanks to advance planning and preparation and the adoption of the right technology solutions.

AMS provides full-service in-person and virtual meeting planning and management services to support our client needs, including venue selection, registration management, meeting content and logistics support and post-event reporting. We manage more than 70 meetings a year ranging in size from small board meetings to large, multi-day conferences. Regardless of the meeting size, AMS is committed to delivering a seamless and holistic experience within scope and budget.

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