Board Meeting Prep Checklist

Navigating the intricate world of board meetings demands careful preparation and adept leadership. Assembling a seamless and effective board meeting involves a multifaceted approach, encompassing meticulous planning and attention to detail. The success of these gatherings hinges on a blend of strategy, communication, and foresight. By combining these elements and adhering to a comprehensive checklist, you can elevate your board meetings to a realm of heightened productivity and engagement.

Steps to follow before the meeting:

Start preparing as early as possible

Efficient board planning begins with a board meeting checklist at the end of the previous meeting, which can be included in the minutes from the last meeting. This list should have scheduled to-do items, and notes as to what items to include in the next meeting.

It is important to send notices out ahead of time. The meeting requirements should be determined, and the in-person meeting location should be booked/online meeting calendar invite sent with plenty of notice. Attendance needs to be confirmed, and those who have yet to respond or confirm need to be reached out to.

Create a set of key performance indicators (KPI’s). The KPI’s are how a business is run by the executive team and how success is measured.

Decide what the strategic issues are. Meet with the board members/executive team to agree on the most significant issues that the company is working on.

Create a deck/board packet for each meeting. A presentation should frame the issue(s) that will be discussed and should include key metrics, financial figures, and updates from board members/the executive team, to ensure all stakeholders are up to date, and should be distributed in advance of the meeting.

Create a board agenda. A board agenda is purposeful and focuses on topics and time allocations. The agenda should be very specific about time management.

Collaborate with key stakeholders. Run everything by the board members/executive team to ensure that nothing was missed.

Review the board’s calendar

The calendar is a compilation of board and committee meetings, and events, that contain the board’s recurring actions and agenda items that are predetermined.

Send the final meeting agenda

The board chair, president, or lead director reviews the agenda and inputs comments, additions, and deletions.

Review the board materials for consistency, prior to distribution

This step avoids management embarrassment. A designee reads and reviews all of the material for consistency.

Prepare the documents needed to discuss agenda items thoroughly

The board packet should be ready at least a week prior to the scheduled meeting. Include reference sections that provide important context that may or may not be discussed, updates from board members, the agenda, and the minutes from the prior meeting.

Increase board engagement by sending materials in advance

Board members are usually very busy and need sufficient time to review materials. This will allow enough preparation time for the board

Know when to reschedule/cancel the meeting

If there is not enough time to prepare, an issue is better handled one-on-one, if there is another way to communicate and accomplish the goal, if there is an industry schedule conflict etc. then consider rescheduling/canceling the meeting.

Steps to follow after the meeting:

Clean up

Ensure to return any borrowed furniture, and clear the meeting space of any materials or leftover food.

Remove meeting notices

Remove all meeting notices; they can be replaced with the upcoming meeting.

Prepare an outline for the minutes

Collect the discussions and resolutions reached during the meeting. An outline helps to prevent any last-minute rushes and errors.

Correct and draft meetings. Any changes to the previous minutes approved by the board need to be signed and dated by the board chair. The current meeting’s minutes should be drafted while fresh in mind and distributed.

Debrief with the leadership team

Meet with key leaders to identify what went wrong, what went right, what was learned, and what can be inputted into the next meeting.

The path to a successful board meeting is paved with meticulous preparation and insightful leadership. Each step, from preliminary planning to post-meeting analysis, contributes to a seamless, productive, and engaging experience for all participants. By investing time and effort into crafting a robust foundation, you empower your board to delve into discussions, make informed decisions, and ultimately drive the organization’s growth. Diligent preparation not only enhances the effectiveness of your board meetings but also underscores your commitment to excellence and impactful governance.



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