There are a few tricks you can use to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly and efficiently, regardless of whether it’s an in-person meeting in your boardroom or a meeting online from your couch.

Timeliness, preparation and beginning promptly are great ways to get things started. Make sure that board members have all the material they need prior to meeting. Making sure that agendas are clear and well-written and distributing them in advance will also aid in keeping the meeting focused on the key points that need to be discussed.

Avoid spending time reading lengthy reports. They can quickly drown out the board’s discussion. Only discuss committee and leadership reports during the board meeting if they are needed to make decisions or provide oversight. The rest can be dealt with through email or smaller meetings.

Be careful when discussing product features and roadmaps. The direction of a business shouldn’t be dictated by what the CEO thinks the market wants. Make sure you know why that you’re taking a certain action whenever you must discuss the product. This will keep you on the right track and avoid the “Enron” effect, where a board was too hands-off to realize that problems were getting worse underneath the surface.

Keep candor breaks on the agenda — These short silences allow board members to discuss issues they are uncomfortable discussing before their peers. They are often needed to ensure that all opinions are heard and that everyone is at ease speaking their mind.

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