A board meeting can be stimulating and enjoyable experience. But ensuring an effective board meeting isn’t an easy task. Board members’ time is valuable and it’s your task as the chairperson to steer discussions in the proper direction and ensure that everyone is involved throughout the entire meeting. If you go off course, it can cost you dearly particularly since decisions made by the board impact the rest of your organization.
Begin with a clear agenda that’s distributed to board members ahead of the scheduled time. Make sure you include an description of the purpose behind each item on the agenda: Is it to inform, gather information, or make a decision? Understanding the purpose behind each issue will help you manage your time better and prevent becoming distracted.
Discuss any business items that require a vote and need to be approved before proceeding to new business issues. It isn’t a good idea to spend all your meeting time on these issues. Instead give each item the attention that it deserves. You might want to consider moving old items to the next agenda item or asking that a report from the future be presented at a later meeting If you notice that your board is spending too much time discussing these items.
If your board meetings are held online you can encourage participation by allowing participants to raise their hand when it’s their turn to speak. This helps the chair of the board to recognize everyone and keep discussion on track. Request everyone to turn off their microphones when they are not talking. This will allow you to avoid distractions such as pets or children. Set your online meetings apart from regular meal times so that people aren’t eating on cameras.