Most boards meet quarterly, so making the best possible use of that four-times-a-year opportunity is key.  Nobody appreciates having their time wasted, or feeling like what they’re doing doesn’t matter or make a difference.  These tips will help you make the best of the meeting time you have:

  • Support your mission statement with every item on the agenda; if the mission statement needs to be updated or revamped, schedule separate meetings to do so. 
  • As with the mission statement, there should be a strategic plan for the association’s growth and progress, and the activities of the board should advance that plan. If there is no plan, or if the current plan has outlived its usefulness, schedule strategic planning sessions separately to correct the problem. 
  • Use consent agendas (see library) to streamline the meeting and keep things moving.  Spend time on only reports that need action.  Whenever possible, set a deadline for adding items to the agenda to avoid last minute changes.  As many board meetings are held by teleconference, make sure all board members receive a copy of the agenda and any necessary supporting documents well before the call so they have time to review.  If at all possible, set up web-based meetings to share documents on screen to reduce “paper-shuffling” time.
  • Pay attention. It seems obvious, but if everyone is listening and watching (if appropriate) it reduces the time spent on repetition and questions.
  • What happens in the boardroom stays in the boardroom.  All discussion and debate related directly to the operation of the association should properly occur during the meeting, with all members available, not later, by email or phone or casual conversation between only a few members.