How to Run an Effective Board Meeting

A well-organized board meeting can be an important element in fostering growth and innovation. To achieve this it is crucial to set clear objectives and establish structures that ensure the appropriate people are in attendance at the right time. The more board members feel that their time and expertise are respected, the more active they will be in discussions and taking decisions.

It is crucial to distribute the agenda and all other materials in advance, usually 3-4 days before the meeting. This allows board members to review materials and formulate their thoughts and opinions prior to the date of the meeting. It also allows the chair to start with a quick recap of the purpose of the meeting, as well as the main feedback being sought. This will help to energize and focus the discussion at the beginning.

Prioritizing items according to their importance and impact is crucial when planning the agenda. It is also essential to ensure that all the important issues have been addressed. Prioritizing issues in this way will allow the board to take strategic decisions and not just focus on updates. This will result in more productive meetings.

By sticking to the timeframes on the agenda will help prevent board members from being distracted. The inclusion of noncontroversial topics on the agenda for consent can make time for a deeper discussion of more strategic issues. Finally giving the chair the option to use an “off-agenda” at the end of the meeting to encourage off tangents that require a longer time is a good way to keep the focus on the main issue and reduce wasted time.