Video A Good Connection for Boards?

A recent “Wall Street Journal” reports that a growing number of corporate boards are using videoconferencing to save the costs, both in time and money, of requiring members to travel long distances to meetings. The article says that the time savings, in particular, make it feasible for companies to attract board members from around the world.

The down side, as expected, is that videoconferences greatly reduce the sense of personal connection and eliminate the opportunities for one-on-one interaction. McAfee board member Denis J. O’Leary commented on his experience of the videoconference-based discussions leading to an acceptance of Intel’s acquisition offer: “I didn’t feel like I was there, but I felt it was a lot better than the alternative, which was the telephone.”

And Mei-Wei Cheng, a Diebold director, observes, it’s possible to get to know fellow directors well only “when you’re sitting at dinner or talking to each other at coffee breaks.”

What’s your experience with videocoferences? When do you think they’re most effective–and not so effective?

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