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A well-run meeting of the board is a good foundation for innovation and growth. To accomplish this, it is essential to establish clear goals and structures for the meetings, and make sure that the most appropriate people are in the room at the right time. The more board members feel that their time and expertise is appreciated, the more involved they will be in discussions and decision-making.

It is crucial to share the agenda and all other materials in advance, usually 3-4 days before the meeting. This allows board members to read through the material and formulate their thoughts and opinions prior to the date of the meeting. It also allows the chair to begin with a brief summary of the focus for the meeting and key input that is sought. This can help to bring the room to life and focus the discussion at the beginning.

When planning the agenda, it’s important to prioritize items in accordance with their importance and urgency. It is also important to ensure that all the important issues are covered. This will allow board members to concentrate on strategic decisions, and not just updates. This will lead to more productive meetings.

Adhering to the time frames in the agenda will prevent board members from getting distracted. The inclusion of noncontroversial topics on the agenda of the consent meeting can save time for deeper discussion on more strategic issues. Additionally allowing the chair to make use of an “off-agenda” at the end of the meeting to encourage further tangents that require more time is a good way to keep distractions at bay and to limit wasted time.

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