Efficient board meetings are absolutely essential to keeping a for-profit or nonprofit board running smoothly. Not only will you want to go over the general status of certain issues, you’ll also want to identify action items and what’s coming up next. Few things can be more frustrating than running out of time at the end of a board meeting without having covered all the pertinent issues on the agenda.
It can be frustrating for board members to get an agenda just a day or even a few hours before a scheduled board meeting. Sending an agenda and related materials too close to the meeting time can result in disconnected board members who haven’t had the time to review the materials or think about what input they might have. Instead, prepare your agenda well in advance. And one of the top pieces of advice to ensure more efficient board meetings: Send that agenda to members at least a week prior to the meeting!
It’s not enough to simply have an agenda—you want to have one that is built to elicit productivity. Avoid stacking controversial topics together and mix in lighter topics where appropriate. Discuss engaging and exciting news in between topics that you think might get heated or where board members are likely to be strongly opinionated. Avoiding highly controversial topics altogether (if possible) will also help you run more efficient board meetings.
It’s not uncommon for board members to become somewhat disconnected from the people who their decisions affect. It can be a great team building exercise and elicit positive results when you make an effort to reconnect members with the groups or individuals who are affected by board decisions. Put together a short video or a slideshow or have someone share a personal story about how the board has affected them in a positive way. Positioning this segment at the beginning of the meeting can help board members redirect their thoughts towards the agenda ahead and can boost morale for a positive and efficient meeting.
Nothing can kill a board meeting faster than technology that decides to glitch out just when you need it the most. Webinars and conference calls may drop suddenly, or a presenter that is new to the tech may fumble a bit trying to get things organized. Avoid this problem by making sure that whoever is running the technology portion of the meeting is well versed in whatever platform you decide to use. Running efficient board meetings usually involves having someone on standby who is adept at solving technical issues so that any bumps can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Some board members will be very active during meetings while others will be content to take a backseat. For those more reserved members, make a point to direct questions to them during the meeting or give them a job. Connect directly with them in some way to encourage them to participate more.
Yes, we’re super biased, but we’d be remiss not to mention board management software as a tool to help organize and run board meetings as smoothly as possible. Whether you are running a for-profit or a nonprofit board, if you are looking for a way to run more efficient board meetings, you might consider Boardable board management software.
Use Boardable’s Meeting Center to automate meeting scheduling, build meeting agendas (even use our built-in agenda templates to make it easier), and keep track of meeting attendance and correspondence with ease. Our Document Center will also help with board meeting preparations by allowing you to organize and distribute documents without having to deal with email attachments. Try us out free and see the difference.