Running an effective board meeting isn’t easy. Between balancing the needs for information and discussion, making sure every voice is heard, and guaranteeing that the meeting is a productive experience for everyone involved, organizing a board meeting can be incredibly stressful and time consuming. Fortunately, much has been written about how to make sure your board meetings are as successful as possible, and it isn’t hard to find tools and resources to make the job easier.
If you are new to planning board meetings and want to cover as many bases as possible, here are a few tips for getting started.
1. Plan Ahead
A successful board meeting never happens by accident. Planning in advance is the only way to make sure a board is able to have a productive meeting. This is why experienced board secretaries often make detailed schedules of when reports need to be received, when the board book needs to be sent out, and when meeting rooms and caterers need to be booked. Viewing a board as an ongoing project that needs regular attention, rather than as a quarterly commitment that can easily sneak up on you, will help ensure you aren’t scrambling to put things together at the very last minute.
2. Streamline Information Flow
No matter what organization or company it serves, no board can do its work without information and data. Before a meeting begins, board members should already be up-to-date on the latest reports, memos, and motions. Making sure board members have access to the information before they meet is one of the most important parts of a board secretary’s job.
Due to increasing concerns about cyber security and the complexities of sharing information in a mobile world, board management tools and board portals like Aprio have become popular as a way of streamlining the data sharing process. Board portals allow members to have access to all documents related to board work electronically via a desktop or mobile application.
3. Stay Focused
When it comes to the meeting itself, getting side tracked is one of the biggest risks. A common error is getting bogged down in the details of one aspect of business and losing sight of the big picture. Board portal software can play a useful role here as well, insofar as it ensures that all board members are working off the most recent versions of documents within the portal app, and can quickly find answers to their questions.
4. Follow Up
Especially in the case of organizations where board members may be juggling multiple roles and commitments, ensuring a strong follow-up after the meeting itself is often as important as the meeting itself. Delegating tasks and making sure all members know what their deliverables are is necessary if the board is to productively continue its work between meetings.
If you are new to running board meetings, or are exploring ways to run them more efficiently, an important thing to remember is that the most effective boards are often the ones that take advantage of the best tools available in discharging their work. With so many things to keep in mind, using software solutions like board portals is an excellent way to make sure your board gets the most out of its meetings.