November 18, 2016
Meetings get a bad name – most participants consider them to be mundane, boring and a waste of precious time. Unfortunately, this holds true for nonprofit board of director meetings. Board meetings are vital to a nonprofit’s success and keep the organization progressing. Running an effective and engaging board of directors meeting is difficult without enthusiastic participants. Take steps to change the way you conduct meetings and keep your board members engaged and make the meeting worth their time.
Tactics for better meetings
Here are eight tactics to make your next board of directors meeting more productive.
- Give them a heads up. Send out a detailed agenda and highlight any items that need thought prior to the meeting. This gives board members a chance to prepare and gather thoughts. Most importantly, it minimizes any surprise on controversial items that need discussed.
- Be prepared. Take time to prepare for the meeting by gathering materials, facts, and discussion topics that need to be voted on. Practice your talking points so you sound professional and knowledgeable on topics being presented.
- Assign tasks. Request a volunteer to keep track of any tasks assigned during the meeting. Getting volunteers during the meeting assures the tasks will be taken care of and minimizes the amount of work you leave with at the end.
- Keep emotions out of it. Stay calm throughout the entire meeting – even during heated discussions or disagreements between board members. Keeping your emotions on point helps keep the meeting on track to benefit the nonprofit. Once emotions come into play, board members are less likely to listen and remain engaged.
- Listen to others. Ask for others feedback and input on items being discussed. And actively listen to their points before presenting a change for a vote. They will feel valued as a board member when their opinion is heard.
- Recognize others. Dedicate time to recognize board members for their efforts since your last meeting. Highlight any important events and changes that were made possible to show your gratitude and appreciation for the board of directors.
- Review actionable items. Review any actionable items and the list of tasks assigned before the meeting is finished. This keeps all members on the same page and helps hold everybody accountable.
- Start and end with the vision. Meetings are more interesting and valuable to participants when the feel inspired. Start and end with inspirational remarks about the nonprofit’s vision, goals, and successes.
Get everybody on board
To successfully change the culture at your board of directors meetings, you first need to get all of the directors on board with the change. Talk to them individually to explain your concerns and desire for change. Gather their feedback and recommendations on the changes to make them feel like they are actively involved in the change.
Unproductive and dreaded meetings don’t have to be the norm in your nonprofit. Take steps to improve them today and your nonprofit will benefit with more engaged board members.