The best way to engage board members is being respectful of their time. One trick is planning a snappy board meeting.
In my experience with boards that meet monthly, business can be transacted in 90 minutes or less. Here are a few tips to keep a board meeting on time and on task.
1. Distribute the agenda, minutes, financial report and staff reports one week in advance of the board meeting. Any earlier than one week makes the information outdated, and any less doesn’t give board members adequate time to prepare.
2. Utilize committees to vet projects or decisions that need to be made. Have a board member present a recommendation from the committee. It will hold more weight coming from a peer.
3. Allocate time for each item on the agenda. List the time in the margin on the agenda. Then board members know what to expect and will keep each other on task.
4. Keep the agenda action-oriented, rather than just presenting reports.
Board members want to be forward-looking rather than revisit past decisions.
These tips will help an executive to draw from the collective knowledge and experience of board members to further the mission of the organization.