board meetings for dummies

Board Meetings for Dummies

For newcomers to board meetings, many things can seem complicated and confusing. However, all it takes to run a successful meeting is knowing all the procedures and following them, as well as participants knowing their rights and responsibilities. Preparing for the board meeting is also an important part. In this article, we will cover board meetings for dummies, and highlight the most important of the rules.

How does the board meeting procedure work?

Below we will explain in simple terms how board meetings are conducted:

  • Board meeting notification

Notification of the meeting is the direct responsibility of the chairman and secretary. They must ensure that each member has received notice, an invitation, and additional materials to review and prepare, such as an agenda. Each company has its bylaws, and each bylaw has different requirements regarding the timing of notification and frequency of meetings.

  • Securing a quorum

Companies should have an attendance policy that will state how many attendees are required to vote, what arrangements will be made for infrequent attendees, and the allowed methods of attendance other than physical attendance.  If fewer people show up for a meeting than a quorum requires, the meeting should be adjourned immediately.

  • The procedure for conducting a proper board meeting

Most boards follow a board algorithm such as a call to order, approval of the agenda, and minutes of the previous meeting, executive director’s resume, and presentation of financial and committee reports. As well as an old and new business, voting and adjournment.

  • Legacy of Robert’s Rules of Order

This is a document that has the rules for board voting written in an accessible way. All board members should be familiar with these rules, and make sure others adhere to them as well.

  • Minutes of Meetings

Minutes are an extremely important document for the board that is legally binding. It is proof of the actions of the board. The person in charge of the minutes should not write down all events verbatim, they should write down notes that summarize the main point.

How to prepare for a board meeting

The entire effect of a meeting depends on the quality of the preparations, so it is highly recommended that these steps not be neglected. Both participants and the chairman should prepare carefully for the meeting to make it as fruitful as possible. To achieve this you need to:

  • Start preparing as early as possible

For the next board meeting, you should start preparing at the end of the previous meeting. Typically, the next meeting date, time, and location are determined at the end of meetings. The secretary begins to assemble a checklist of items for the next agenda after the meeting is over.

  • Check the annual council calendar the week before the meeting

The calendar lists recurring board activities and pre-planned agenda items. Also, additional items can be included by the chair, and attendees themselves can suggest their items for discussion during meetings.

  • Approve the final agenda

The final agenda should include all items to be discussed and actions to be taken after the meeting. After the chair approves the agenda, the secretary should distribute it to the rest of the participants.

  • Send out the meeting preparation materials at least a week in advance

Give board members as much time as possible to prepare for the meeting. To do this, assemble and send the appropriate packet of documents for review at least 7 days before the meeting; this will increase the involvement of the participants.