A board meeting is a formal meeting that involves the board of directors of a business or organization. These meetings can be intimidating, and when so many important people are brought together at one time, it’s critical that the meeting is organized and that no one’s time is wasted. That’s why, even with all of those important board members and special guests involved, the real hero of the show is the board meeting agenda!Let’s talk about why meeting agendas are so important to the success of a meeting. We’ll share actionable strategies for what meeting organizers and attendees should do before, during, and after the meeting. Yes, you heard that right — you need to prepare before the meeting and follow through on your “homework” after the meeting as well.We spoke about how to run a board meeting in a previous post and covered details on the who, what, where, when, and why of board meetings. For this post, we’ll focus specifically on how to effectively establish a collaborative board meeting agenda.
What’s Most Important About a Board Meeting Agenda?
Board meetings come in all shapes and sizes. You might have a regular board meeting at a high school that involves school district board members. You could have a nonprofit board meeting where members of the public are invited to provide feedback and insight. Another alternative is a special board meeting that brings together the board members and investors of a large-scale enterprise to discuss the future of the organization, strategic planning, or other critical business items.Heck, these days a board meeting doesn't even need to take place in a boardroom; it may instead involve virtual teams or a hybrid mix of in-person and virtual attendees. No matter the shape or size of the meeting, the board meeting agenda holds it all together.Now when we say meeting agenda, we don’t mean any old committee meeting agenda. A simple list of what you hope to discuss is not enough. We’re referring to a detailed, collaborative, planned, adaptable meeting agenda that has a clearly defined meeting goal and timeline.Creating board meeting agendas of this caliber takes time and dedication, but the benefits are well worth it in the end.An effective board meeting agenda provides the following benefits:
- The board meeting has a specific purpose and goal that’s met by the end of the meeting.
- Everyone knows what is expected of them.
- The meeting sticks to a strict timeline.
- All attendees are on the same page about what will be discussed.
- Necessary materials are provided before the meeting starts.
- Only relevant attendees are invited.
- Clear action items are set before the end.
- People are held accountable for those action items.
No one wants their time wasted, least of all a room full of board members. To ensure each meeting has a clear purpose and follows a constructive format, all attendees, including the board chair, board members, and invited guests, need to be active participants in the board meeting agenda before, during, and after the meeting.
Before the Meeting: Board Meeting Agenda Planning and Collaboration
The steps you take before the meeting are crucial. Leading up to the meeting, you need to prepare the board meeting agenda and allow attendees to participate. The more active planning and prep-work you have before the meeting, the more effective your meeting agenda will be in the end.How to prepare the meeting agenda before the board meeting:
- Set a specific meeting purpose and create a list of goals that you hope to accomplish by the end of the meeting.
- Ensure the right people are invited to attend the meeting. If you invite people that aren’t needed, then the meeting will waste those people's time. If you don’t invite the right people to the meeting, you could get stalled on important questions or agenda items.
- Set a clear meeting time that represents the best estimate of how long it will take to cover necessary topics and reach the meeting’s goal.
- Assign talking points in advance so that anyone who needs to speak knows their role and what’s expected of them. Any topics that will be discussed, including open forum for new business, should be a part of the agenda.
- Provide any extra resources to attendees before the meeting. During the meeting is not the time for attendees to see important documentation for the first time.
- Establish clear and specific discussion topics. Leave out vague items like “Discuss our Budget.” Add more detail, such as “Approve our Q4 budget and decide what to do with any remaining funds.”
- Ask attendees in advance if anything is missing or should be added to the meeting agenda.
During the Meeting: Follow the Agenda and Establish Clear Actions
With all of the hard work you have put into preparing your board meeting agenda, you are well on your way to a successful meeting. During the meeting, stay on the ball and follow your agenda as closely as possible.How to utilize the meeting agenda during a board meeting:
- Follow the meeting agenda timeline as closely as possible. This includes the time allotted for each topic and the total time for the meeting.
- Check off discussion items as they occur.
- Take detailed meeting minutes for legal purposes, organizational history, public knowledge, or to share with anyone who couldn’t attend. For clear meeting minutes with speaker identification, check out the powerful AI notetaking provided by Anchor AI.
- Assign action items as they come up. Don’t rely on memory alone. When a task comes up, clearly define it and assign it to someone.
- At the end of the meeting, leave some time for reflection and feedback. How can you improve upon your meeting process for next time?
- Is there any old business to talk about at the start of the meeting next time? Pencil this in at the top of your next board meeting agenda.
We’re almost there, but just because the meeting is over doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
After the Meeting: Complete Action Items and Follow Up
The meeting is complete, but the work doesn’t end there. Now, everyone who was assigned a task needs to be accountable for completing it before the next meeting takes place.What should happen after the board meeting concludes:
- Make sure the meeting minutes are clear and accurate. Distribute them to all attendees, including anyone who was invited to the meeting but couldn’t be present.
- Review action items and prioritize tasks. Give all action items clear timelines and due dates.
- Follow up on action items to verify they’re completed within the designated time frame or before the next meeting. You don’t want to waste time in your next meeting chasing people around for incomplete tasks.
- Put any feedback you received at the end of your previous meeting into practice. How can you use what you learned to improve your board meeting processes the next time around?
Board Meeting Transcripts Designed for You
A board meeting agenda is an ever-evolving part of the meeting. It needs attention and care from everyone involved — before, during, and after a meeting.Board meeting minutes are a big deal, and they are often required for legal purposes after a board meeting concludes. Don’t leave your meeting notes up to chance! Anchor AI provides powerful AI technology to ensure your meeting notes are accurate every time — and with far less work!Leave the real-time notetaking to Anchor AI so you can focus on engaging with attendees and following an effective board meeting agenda. We’re not ready just yet, but we will be soon. Sign up today , and check out our How It Works page, which answers many frequently asked questions about our product.