A board meeting that is effective will enable the company to move forward by taking informed decisions. Board members must prepare meetings in a collaborative manner. They should look over documents and reports, provide feedback, and respond to questions. They should also engage thoughtful debate on the strategic issues. This includes an in-depth study and analysis of current strategies, as well as a plan for the future.

A successful board meeting starts with a clear agenda. This agenda should be given to participants prior to the meeting. It should contain all items for discussion (e.g. the board packet, past minutes, proposed policies and committee reports). By distributing these materials in advance, you aid participants in preparing for the meeting, eliminate wasted time searching for relevant information during the meeting and ensure that all important issues are covered.

Once the board has reviewed and discussed reports and information, it is time to take decisions. This is where the true power of the board lies. During this portion of the meeting, the board will discuss and decide on specific actions to be taken to achieve the company’s goals. The chair will also conduct an open roll call to verify that a quorum has been established and to ensure that all members are involved in the discussion.

It is beneficial for the board to have subject matter experts within the organization in the decision-making process. A representative from the engineering department present an update on the new product, or having a sales lead talk about a recent major win can give fresh perspective and lead to productive discussions. It is also an excellent idea to bring in external speakers to help the board gain more knowledge on the subject.