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Effective Meeting Execution

Planning an Effective Board Meeting

You might think that all meeting planning is equal. Not true. While it is true that a number of the key components required in planning a meeting are similar whether you are planning an annual conference for 1,000 attendees or a six person executive committee meeting, there are unique intricacies that must be carefully considered when planning a more intimate meeting such as a Board Meeting.

When you take a minute to think about it, time invested in the Board Meeting, by both staff and volunteer leaders, has the potential of impacting the future of an association or society. The level of commitment required to sit on a Board has increased exponentially over the years, making face-to-face meeting time a valuable commodity.

Below are just a few areas that deserve special attention:

Clearly Define the Meeting Objective

  • Circulate a draft agenda in advance to allow directors to make comments or suggestions.
  • Include the organizationís mission on the agenda as a reminder of why the Board exists.
  • Be certain that each agenda item has a direct tie to the mission or the strategic plan.
  • Assign time frames to each agenda item and be sure to have a timekeeper at the meeting to move things along if the pace starts to slow down.
  • Take care of housekeeping items, such as committee reports, approval of previous meeting minutes or scheduling of future meetings through email prior to the meeting.

Meeting Location

  • The meeting should be held at a central location to permit easy access by all participants.
  • Consider an airport hotel that would minimize travel time to and from the meeting.
  • If your meeting is being held in conjunction with an annual conference at a resort location, encourage participants to arrive the night before so that they are well rested in the morning.
  • The meeting room should be in a convenient location within the hotel, well lit, and roomy enough to allow attendees sufficient personal space.

Planning the Meeting

  • Develop a timeline and stick to it. The earlier the better.
  • Keep your participants informed along the way. Email is usually the most efficient communication tool for giving updates.
  • Strive for 100% Board participation. If this is not an option, be sure that proxies are received in advance so that motions can be passed.
  • Encourage participants to arrive early for a continental breakfast in the meeting room. This can be used as a time for directors to get reacquainted or catch up on personal news.
  • Have the room set-up and audio visual equipment ready to go before your guests arrive.

At the Meeting

  • Greet attendees with a smile as they arrive. Thank them for coming.
  • Request that all electronic communication equipment be turned off during the meeting.
  • Start the meeting on time.
  • Plan an appropriate number of breaks to keep participants engaged.
  • Adjourn on time.