How to Keep Board Meetings Productive and Engaging

A board meeting is the most high level decision-making and discussion event within a company. These meetings aren’t only used to assess past performance but also to approve future strategies and plans of action. These meetings are private and confidential or open to anyone who wants to observe depending on the size of your organization.

The agenda is usually prepared by the executive secretary or management assistant, with input from the chairman and CEO. It includes logistical information such as the time, date and location of the meeting. The minutes from previous meetings are included, along with a list of pending agenda items. It is crucial for board members to go through the minutes of the previous meeting and then ratify them before discussing any new items.

Reports that are too long and other routine items can drown a meeting with details. To keep meetings productive and engaging you should limit reports to not more than 25 percent of the meeting time. Encourage the chairpersons and leaders to provide a summary prior to the meeting instead of giving an in-depth account.

You could also include a parking area at the end of the agenda for any new topics that do not fit within the two main areas of focus for the meeting. This will keep you from getting distracted, and thus wasting time during the meeting. Focusing discussions on the most important issues ensures the best outcomes from every minute of the board meeting.

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