How You Open a Board Meeting

The way you begin a board meeting is an opportunity to establish a positive tone. This can be accomplished by clearly communicating the purpose of the meeting and setting the time limit for agenda items. This ensures that the board meets its objectives at every meeting, and prevents the need to spend time on non-essential subjects.

To get the most value from every minute, begin the meeting promptly. To achieve this, prioritize the most important issues that need to be discussed and make sure that all members have the background materials they need. Create a robust agenda that includes relevant information ahead of time and include all the necessary board documents including minutes from the previous meeting and financial reports, committee presentations, project updates and proposals.

Make sure that the discussion is focused on important issues that are in line with the strategic plan, and also manage risk. Reduce the time spent on lengthy reports and routine business to a quarter of the meeting. The remainder can be used for strategic discussions. Board members can be encouraged, instead of reading long reports, to present bullet points that summarise the information they require.

Discuss the progress made by the company since the last meeting. Include important milestones, as well as areas that require improvement. The board then has the option of deciding whether to implement strategies that will help to boost growth and overcome obstacles. It is also a good moment to review the upcoming board elections and offer any training or orientation for new members.