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How to Design Effective Board Meetings

Board meetings are where important corporate decisions ranging from company policy to management appointments to financial control and the response to crises – are taken. In these meetings, board members share their views, debate different ideas and ultimately boards audit steer an organization through the challenges of business. To facilitate a constructive dialogue and produce results, the best boards develop their agendas to elicit informed judgment from all participants.

The preparation of board members ahead of time is essential to having a successful meeting. Nothing degrades the effectiveness of a meeting more than having participants rush to read important documents during the meeting or, even worse getting materials delivered late or not available at all.

It is helpful to make a list of the topics to be discussed prior to the meeting so that board members are in a position and are able to anticipate. This allows the chair to focus on the most important issues and avoid rehashing topics already discussed.

A strategic planning component is also an excellent idea to put at the top of your agenda. This allows for a thorough examination to determine if the board’s strategy plan is in line or if any gaps need to be taken care of.

It’s also a good idea to start the meeting off with an inspirational or motivational speech to re-energize the room and set the stage to encourage productive discussion. This could be as simple as opening with a story of the company’s achievements or the recognition of individual staff members and board member’s contributions.

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