How to smoothly drive society’s general body meeting online during the pandemic

As more than half of the world is adapting to and even promoting remote working environments, housing societies shouldn’t allow themselves to conduct day-to-day operations poorly due to social distancing protocols. Adopting technology to run your society efficiently is an optimum solution for the foreseeable future. 

Conducting group video meetings isn’t as tricky as you’d imagine, once you’ve gotten over the fear of the first dreaded rigamarole of getting everything organized among various committee members so that they can familiarise themselves with a new medium of communication. Digital natives may even have trouble with their checklists as the process involves group participation of diverse people. 

Our guide will make it easier for Management Committees to hold society meetings online.

Whether it is the Annual General Body Meeting, Special General Meetings or Managing Committee meetings, they can all be conducted through video conferencing by following a few ground rules and preparing in advance.

Steps to follow before the meeting:

  1. Prepare the agenda for the meet
  2. Prioritise important topics for discussion
  3. Assign a time duration for each discussion so that every item gets enough time to be analysed and weighed according to urgency and importance
  4. Select the right medium to hold the meeting
  5. Send meeting invites to all participants

How to choose the right video conferencing app for General Body meeting during the pandemic

There are loads of free online meeting apps in the market, the most popular are Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. 

However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a warning regarding Zoom, stating that the app has major weaknesses that may make it vulnerable to data theft and hacking of calls midway. Several countries have banned Zoom, including US, Australia and Germany. 

The MHA has also issued guidelines to use Zoom safely which you can read here. 

Not all participants attending the meeting may be habituated to using video conferencing apps. Ensure you email a quick tutorial to assist participants in navigating/using the app so that they can join the group call and operate the app during the meeting.

Common group call etiquette for society meetings during the pandemic

  • Send a meeting reminder on the day of the group call via email, WhatsApp or any other communication app.
  • Appoint a moderator (Secretary/Chairman) to conduct the session.
  • Make sure that the video/audio are on for each participant. Place the camera correctly, not too high or too low.
  • Record the meeting for making the minutes later. All society meetings are required to have official Minutes of Meeting.
  • Instruct the participants to have the meeting agenda in front of them (digital version/printout).
  • Dressing appropriately for the meeting is a must. The physical settings of the room should be such that there’s enough light but no noise and other disturbances.
  • Keep the app on mute when you’re not speaking so that there’s no distractions for other speakers.
  • Do not speak out of turn or interrupt others when they’re speaking.
  • Make sure each participant engages in the meeting and gets enough time and consideration while putting forth their views and suggestions.
  • Keep body movements to the minimum and maintain eye contact.
  • Do not carry on small talk and avoid discussing topics that are not in the agenda (unless something is pertinent to the topic).
  • Chairman/Secretary should use the screen sharing options while discussing important financial reports, bills, legal documents, etc., to give the participants a visual walkthrough of the topic and inspire trust.
  • Keep it short. While video conferencing is only a tool for replacing physical meetings, participants tend to get antsy and distracted when the meetings go over 30 minutes.

Things to remember:

If you’re holding a special general body meeting, the pre-notification timelines will still apply, i.e. (5 day’s notice, minimum required quorum, and other proceedings), except everything will have to be done via email and no physical circulars should be handed to maintain social distancing protocols.

Know more about special general meeting guidelines.

Similarly, the notice period for organizing Committee Meetings also applies, which according to the bye-laws, are, “3 clear day’s notice of meetings of the Committee to all the Members of the Committee which shall state the date, time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted there at, in consultation with the Chairman of the Society.”

The time to hold Annual General Body Meetings is usually August-September. Co-ops had been granted permission by the Maharashtra government amidst the pandemic to conduct their AGM as well as other day to day activities via digital platforms and further stated that decisions taken during such digital meetings will be considered valid.

Even if the threat of the virus subsides, virtual meetings may become the norm among housing societies as they provide all the conveniences of a physical meeting with the added perk of saving time.

About MyGate

MyGate is India’s largest apartment management app, benefiting thousands of housing societies, developers, society facility managers, and millions of homeowners in every Indian city.

Disclaimer: Thank you for visiting our site. The information provided by MyGate (“we,” “us” or “our”) on https://www.mygate.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. We strive to provide our readers with accurate information that helps learn more about the topics. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. We do not accept responsibility for the accuracy of information sourced from an external entity or take personal/ legal responsibility for your use of this information.

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