How to Run an Effective Board Meeting

A well-organized board meeting is a solid basis for innovation and growth. To do this, it’s essential to establish clear goals and structures for the meetings, and to ensure that the proper people are in room at the appropriate time. The more the board members feel valued for their time and knowledge the more likely they will participate in discussions and make decisions.

It is crucial to disseminate all materials and agendas in advance. This should be done at least 3-4 days before the meeting. This allows members of the board to read through the documents and formulate their opinions and ideas prior to the meeting. It also allows the chair to begin with a brief summary of the focus for the meeting and the key input that is sought. This will help energize and focus the meeting at the beginning.

Prioritizing items according to their importance and impact is essential when making the agenda. It is also essential to make sure that all major topics are addressed. This will allow board members to focus on strategic decisions, and not just updating. This will lead to more productive meetings.

By adhering to the time limits set in the agenda, board members will not get sidetracked. Affixing noncontroversial items to the agenda for consent can save time for deeper discussion of more strategic issues. In the end, giving the chair to make use of the «off-agenda», at the end of a meeting, to push tangents which need more time is able to assist in avoiding distractions and reducing wasted time.

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