5 Tips for Running an Effective Board Meeting
posted Jan 3, 2018 by Jamie Hansen, CPA, MSNM in the Mission Matters Blog
Have you ever felt your board meetings were uninteresting and unproductive, despite their importance? What can you do to conduct an effective board meeting? Here are five tips to running a productive and effective board meeting.
- Prepare and Stick to an Agenda: Planning and conducting an effective board meeting starts with a good meeting agenda. The agenda provides for a useful and powerful tool to keep board members on topic and within an allotted time frame. If you are scheduled to have a long, mentally draining discussion, follow it up by a lighter topic or even a small break. By thinking ahead and balancing the agenda, you can create a meeting that allows for several important topics to be discussed without letting the meeting drag.
- Provide Materials in Advance: The board should receive the agenda and necessary reports at least a week in advance. This will allow for all board members to be prepared for discussion. Providing this material in advance will reduce the one-way communication during a meeting. Having a board member read a report or present information requires no discussion; however, if all members read the information prior to the meeting they can come prepared for a healthy discussion.
- Effective Participation: Every board member is important. Make sure all members feel engaged and have a chance to contribute. Allowing everyone the opportunity to speak with the entire board’s attention, helps ensure all board members feel accomplished and involved.
- Always have an Executive Session: This allows for sensitive topics, as well as the performance of the executive director/chief executive officer to be discussed. Having these meetings after every session will avoid any anxiety when going into an executive session, as it becomes a routine item.
- Don’t Wait: Board meetings don’t end in the board room. If an item is crucial and needs to be discussed, communicate with the board through a special meeting via conference call, email or even requesting an impromptu face-to-face meeting. Some agenda items need more time than others and communicating to the board before or after a meeting can help ensure agenda items are discussed adequately.
Running a board meeting can be complicated. Without careful planning, you run the risk of losing focus, and losing your board’s interest. The last thing you want are unhappy board members after a poorly handled meeting. The key to a great and productive meeting is staying on task, and sticking to a carefully thought out agenda. Stay tuned for more information on effective meetings with your Board in the coming weeks.
Questions? Reach out to me or any of our Not-for-Profit Services Team members.