An effective board meeting is an essential element of a successful governance. The Board of Directors meets to discuss and decide on crucial company issues, to ensure that the organization is moving in the right direction. Although it can be daunting but there are some simple guidelines to help ensure that you are having productive discussions and making sound decisions throughout your meetings.
Planning ahead and sharing the agenda for the meeting with all participants prior to the scheduled time is essential. A clear agenda will outline the most important topics to be discussed and assign reasonable amounts of time for each discussion. This prevents meetings from going off-topic, getting bogged down in a rerun or becoming an opportunity for only few people to participate instead of an inclusive dialogue of the entire Board.
Prioritize two questions to be addressed at each meeting. This is a typical best practice that allows discussions to be focused and reduce the number of items to be discussed during the meeting. This allows more time to be spent on each issue and it is possible to make a decision, as opposed to just sharing updates. Updates are easily shared through the board book, and a limited amount of time to update can be allocated to them during the meeting itself.
It is important to communicate clearly the process for making decisions. This ensures that all members are aware of the process of making decisions and will be on the same with regards to resolving disagreements and achieving consensus. It also sets expectations for the type of discussions to be conducted during the meeting, such as finding common ground and examining all perspectives or resolving differences through a voting procedure.