5 Tips for Running an Effective Board Meeting - A Mission Matters Blog Article from KLR

Mission Matters Blog

5 Tips for Running an Effective Board Meeting

posted Jan 3, 2018 by Jamie Hansen, CPA, MSNM in the Mission Matters Blog

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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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.