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Ten Tips for Better Board Meetings

No one likes a board meeting that runs on forever with no end in sight. This article offers ten tips for controlling board meetings to make sure that you both get the job done, and also do so in an efficient manner.

1. Time is a gift given by volunteer Board members. Cut down on paperwork. Use Executive Summaries, written Manager Recommendations, Detailed Reports in place of actual correspondence, Timed Agendas and Consent Calendars.

2. Hold the meetings in a businesslike setting. Don’t meet at the pool or in a room with other activities and distractions. Have adequate space and seating for everyone.

3. Set up the room so the Board can easily talk to one another but not above or separated from the membership.

4. Always bring Agendas to hand out to meeting attendees. Let the audience follow along.

5. Start meetings earlier. Have refreshments delivered so hungry Board members will arrive earlier, be alert and stay until the end of the meeting.

6. Have committees submit executive summaries for inclusion in the Board package and be available for questions only. Reward and praise committees in the Newsletter, Award Ceremony or at the Annual Meeting, not at the monthly Board meeting.

7. Stick to the Agenda. Don’t allow business to be discussed without a prior motion and a second.

8. Make it a Board policy to have experts create specifications prior to going out to bid.

9. Provide annual Board updates for training and educating each Board. Be creative and make it mandatory that Boards will attend at least one training session each contract year.

10. Adjourn each meeting before 10 pm. No one is at their best making decisions late at night.

Excerpted from a speech entitled, “The Psychology of Successful Board Meetings & Board Liability.” September 2003