Board meetings are the time when board members provide important feedback on a company’s progress. Board meetings can also be an opportunity for members to build camaraderie and build trust.

A successful board meeting starts by establishing clear communication of the purpose of the meeting before the board meets. This includes providing a board agenda with all the information needed for the discussion (no need to send more than what’s important) and preparing an agenda that emphasizes what’s most important to be discussed.

Some boards utilize Robert’s Rules of Order as a guide for conducting their meetings, however, using this book isn’t required for every board. In general, it’s the chair’s responsibility to ensure that all invitations and materials are distributed on time, that notes are taken and that all board members receive the required materials prior to the meeting.

One of the most common mistakes that companies make is not preparing and distribution of their board documents in advance. It is essential to communicate the board meeting objectives to everyone in attendance prior to the beginning of the board meeting to give directors the opportunity to prepare and ask questions before the meeting. This saves time in the meeting for discussions and lets you keep the meeting as brief as possible. If you have an executive member who insists on a lengthy report to be included in the agenda, then plan to make it to run for at least an hour after any break.

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