Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How to Conduct a Successful and Productive Board Meeting

The average person spends 6-12 hours per week in meetings. That is a lot of time! Here are some ways to enhance meeting time and make them more effective.

Preparation
1) Set the date – making sure it works for the majority of the people. A consistent monthly or quarterly date is a good idea.
2) Meeting wizard is a good way to reach many people and save you time – www.meetingwizard.com.
3) Send materials 1-3 weeks prior to the meeting so participants have time to review and come prepared.
4) Choose a comfortable meeting space – make sure it’s large enough to accommodate everyone. 5) Have name tags available if people don’t know each other.
6) If necessary, post an acronym chart so everyone understands the lingo.

Meeting Basics
1) Always keep the mission of the organization in mind when conducting a meeting.
2) Begin and end on time – respect and honor people’s time and commitments. People should know what to expect in regards to time spent at a meeting.
3) Prepare some ice-breakers if people don’t know each other well. It’s important to get to know each other and build relationship and trust.
4) Refreshments can make people more comfortable.
5) Members who arrive late should not expect to be brought up to speed.

Agendas (It is the responsibility of the Board Chair with the Executive Director to create and send out the agenda.)
1) Give board members the opportunity to supply agenda items.
2) Develop the agenda considering the time allowed.
3) Consider a couple key objectives for each meeting – what do you really need to accomplish in the time allowed.
4) Structure the agenda with the most important issues addressed first.
5) Consider setting time limits for agenda items to save time.
6) Write an anticipated outcome for each agenda item – is it a discussion item, one needing action or no action.
7) Committees should verbally report only when an item needs action, otherwise a written report is sufficient for updates.
8) Consider consent agendas.

Leadership
1) The chair of the Board should facilitate the meeting. He/she will set the tone.
2) Establish ground rules – no side conversations for example.
3) Stay neutral.
4) Make sure everyone has had a chance to speak.
5) Encourage relationship building.

Sources – Boardsource, Idealist.org and BoardCafe.org

By Holly Witt, NRS, Alexandria

1 comment:

Sandy Rees said...

It's important to put written reports into Board packets so that meeting time can be reserved for discussion of critical issues facing the organization. Having time to discuss big picture issues helps provide direction for the organization and also energizes Board members. When Board members feel their time was well spent, they'll be more likely to attend future meetings.

Sandy Rees, CFRE
www.sandyrees.com