How to Run an Effective Board Meeting

A well-run board meeting is an essential element for growth and innovation. To accomplish this, it’s essential to establish clear goals and structure for the meetings, and also ensure that the proper people are in room at the right time. The more board members feel that their time and expertise are respected, the more engaged they will be in discussions and taking decisions.

It is essential to disseminate all agenda items and materials in advance. This should be done at least 3-4 days prior to the meeting. This gives board members time to go through the materials and form their thoughts and opinions prior to the date of the meeting. It also lets the chair begin by providing a quick overview of the purpose of the meeting and the key input that is sought. This will help to energize the beginning of the meeting and keep it focused throughout.

Prioritizing items according to their importance and impact is essential when making the agenda. It is also important to make sure that all the important issues have been addressed. Prioritizing items in this manner will enable the board to make important decisions and not simply focus on updates. This makes meetings more productive.

Sticking to the time frames in the agenda will keep board members from getting sidetracked. The inclusion of noncontroversial topics on the agenda of consent can help to make room for discussions on more strategic issues. Also having the chair use an “off-agenda” at the end of the meeting to push further tangents that require more time is a good way to keep distractions at bay and to limit wasted time.

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