How to Improve Board Meetings with 5 Tips for Less Time Waste & More Productivity

The most important resource available to corporate boards is time. The valuable time spent at the board table is vital because it allows busy directors to pool their expertise and experience to define strategy, provide oversight, and advance stakeholders’ interests. Because boards are under greater stress than ever, it is crucial that board meetings are productive in order for organizations to get the most out of their boards. For contemporary boards, doing more while working more efficiently is essential. What tactics then can directors and company secretaries employ to ensure that board meetings are fruitful and effective?

Board Meeting Productivity Is Enhanced by Preparation

A much of what makes for a successful board meeting occurs before the actual meeting. To be completely prepared and able to participate on meeting day, directors need enough of time and the correct materials to study before the meeting. A director will not be able to contribute effectively and will be failing in their obligation to the organization if they have not had time to read and analyze the meeting materials.

Before the meeting, directors should have enough time to peruse the agenda and board packet. Utilizing a digital board gateway is the most effective method to do this (sometimes referred to as board management software). The bulky hard-copy board packs of the past have been replaced by these kinds of solutions. They provide directors with a safer and more adaptable approach to read, evaluate, and annotate meeting materials.

Directors typically get meeting materials at least a week before a meeting. However, last-minute adjustments are a given in life. Board administrators may easily make changes using a digital board portal, and directors can get notifications informing them of the change.

Intensify the Agenda’s Effort

The meeting’s agenda serves as its framework and should be created with optimal efficiency in mind. Procedural concerns and strategic talks should be equally represented on the agenda, providing for a mix of in-depth and high-level themes. Overall, this gives the space a nice rhythm. Try moving certain topics about on the agenda if they frequently don’t receive the necessary attention since they are at the bottom.

There should be a good balance on the program between issues that look backward and ahead in time. A board is advised to spend one-third of its time examining accomplishments and performance reports and two-thirds looking toward the future because its primary business goal is to define future strategy.

Making it clear which issues are up for debate and which need to be approved at the meeting is another recommended practice. Ahead of the meeting, items for approval should be discussed with the board so that approval is more of a formality, freeing up time for discussion of other subjects.

Lastly, keep in mind that directors are fallible. To maintain a high level of energy, include regular pauses in the schedule and make sure the space is cozy and well-stocked with food and drink.

Keep a Steady Tempo and Energy

When there is speed and enthusiasm in the room, productivity increases. This is where the chair must take the lead and make sure that meetings go forward at an appropriate pace and don’t veer off into other topics. It is an acquired ability, and some Chairs are better at it than others. It is wise to spend money on training to support a Chair if they are having difficulties in this area.

Setting up time for each agenda is a helpful best practice. This makes sure that everyone understands how long a topic may be discussed and gives an early warning when the group may be losing focus, which would affect efficiency. Naturally, there are times when it becomes apparent that a conversation requires additional time, in which case a flexible Chair may change the agenda in order to attain the desired level of attention. However, in general, having a schedule and agenda to follow increases productivity and keeps the meeting on schedule.

Enable Secure Note-Taking So You Can Access It Later

Directors are busy taking notes on meeting materials and marking topics for questions as they get ready for board meetings. However, any written notes created during the meeting itself must be afterwards erased due to the necessity of secrecy. Directors should also avoid taking notes during board meetings and keeping them on personal devices since doing so poses recognized security hazards.

Directors are thus denied the chance to later consult their meeting corporate minutes (more information on the site and remind themselves of their own and others’ contributions. And this gets us to another essential board portal value-add. Because of the built-in security of a digital board portal, notes may be taken and saved without running the danger of becoming public at a later time. The ability to retain meeting notes for future reference always increases a director’s productivity.

Keep The Board Informed of Business and Governance Challenges

Effective directors are knowledgeable directors. Consequently, it is crucial that newly appointed directors go through a thorough onboarding procedure that includes pertinent business and sector-specific knowledge. This guarantees they will get the chance to observe the company in operation so they can make future decisions with greater knowledge. Once directors have gotten used to their jobs, they should still be kept informed. Informing directors on intriguing and pertinent business and governance-related changes as they occur is a critical strategy for maintaining their interest.