by Lincoln Arneal
The board of directors is the heart that keeps the organization moving forward. The problem is many people view board of director meetings as a drab and high level mumbo jumbo. However, with some planning and foresight, you can make these meetings more lively and engaging. Here are seven lessons that can help make your board of director meetings more productive, exciting and worthwhile.
1.The Meeting Starts Before the Meeting
A board of directors meeting doesn’t actually start when everyone is sitting around a table and it is called to order. Your work actually starts long before then. Prior to the meeting, you need take care of the logistics to make the time run smoothly. It helps to collect and send out all of the regular reports including the financials, director reports and any other business filings that need to be reviewed prior to meeting. If you send it out to the directors early, they have time to take notes, prepare questions and become more familiar with the information.
Each meeting has several regular business items that need to be covered, such as reviewing previous meeting minutes, reports and discussing new and old business—but how you set up the meeting can dictate its effectiveness.
You don’t have to play together, but you should care about the people you are working with and the board members should have an investment in what you’re doing.
4.Keep Detailed Minutes
The minutes should include a summary of points being made, actions steps, motions and other official actions. Taking detailed, thorough minutes during the meeting can help eliminate headaches later.
5.Listen and Ask for Opinions
You can make them feel more engaged by making sure everyone has the chance to contribute.
6.Recognize and Thank
Board members should be recognized for their contributions both to your organization and in their everyday life. While this might not be tied directly to meetings, making sure that your directors know that you appreciate their work can help you have more effective meetings. If they feel appreciated, they will likely be more engaged and want to participate.
7.Review Action Items
This is simple and straightforward, but you should review action steps for the next meeting twice, if not three times.
As with anything, leading a meeting takes skill. It takes leadership, organization and clear expectations. If you follow these seven tips, you’ll be off to a good start to make you board of director meetings more efficient—but also make your own adjustments based on your specific board. Before you know it, your board will be pumping like a strong, healthy heart.