Critical Advice For Directors When Planning Board Meetings

22 August 2019

What Do Directors And Business Leaders Need To Know When Planning Board Meetings?

If you’re a Director or Business Leader, perfecting and planning board meetings should be a major priority. After all, the decisions made in the boardroom can have a huge influence on the productivity and profitability of the entire venture. Strategic planning will provide the foundation of success.

It may sound like a scary prospect, but incorporating some very simple changes can generate huge improvements. Here are three of the best.

Vector illustration of office workers planning a board meeting

Tip #1: Create Agenda and get agreement at least 48hours prior to the board meeting

In many ways, the procedures that precede the meeting are more important than the session itself because allowing your team to enter the boardroom blindly will inevitably lead to poor engagement levels while attendees will also digress into topics that aren’t significant to the goals you are trying to achieve. Therefore, it’s imperative that you set the agenda well ahead of time.

The board meeting agenda should set out to:

  • Provide confirmation of the meeting’s purpose.
  • Confirm the main topics of conversation.
  • Create accurate forecasts of timings.
  • Know who will attend the board meeting.

The board meeting is likely to include a brief opening and confirmed approval of agenda, followed by discussions regarding any action taken since the last meeting. There should also be time to cover the various topics of conversation for this meeting, as well as time for confirmation of the new ideas. Most Directors will want to allocate a small amount of time for new business too.

While it’s standard practice to have time for discussion of the last meeting’s minutes, this is actually something you may want to cover by email or group chats prior to the meeting in a bid to save time and prevent the danger of the new meeting remaining stuck on ideas from the last one. By reducing the time of the meeting in this manner, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining focus as well as engagement levels.

Send the agenda and ask for confirmation of receipt at least 48 hours ahead of the meeting to ensure that the strongest platform is in place.

Setting an agenda can be crucial for successfully planning board meetings.

Tip #2: Contract meeting format at the beginning of the meeting

Once the meeting has started, your job is to maintain control and ensure that all members are focused on guiding the session to the desired conclusion. Time is of the essence, which is why you need to ensure that the meeting begins in style. While the main topics of conversation will have been covered in the agenda, it’s important to reaffirm the format and structure of the meeting from the very beginning.

Implementing this tip is crucial because it will ensure that each topic gains the desired level of attention and time allocation while also ensuring that every member of the team knows what to expect and will have a chance to have their voice heard.

It’s important to analyse each discussion point on its own merits. Problem solving and decision making are key factors but the level of responsibility given to the group will vary from one issue to the next, especially as some require specialised experience. Having the right format in place will confirm which aspects simply require idea formulation for the dedicated department to discuss and which elements require more in-depth decision making.

The format of the meeting should encourage active participation and responsibility as a dictatorship-styled meeting will never produce constructive results. Furthermore, the globalisation of workforces means that teams are spread out like never before, which is why the times in which you can get people sat together in a room are so vital. Without a structured approach to the meeting, missed opportunities are inevitable.

Meetings should be formatted to focus on the important matters that require face-to-face interactions fuelled by emotion and feelings. You can handle less significant communications in a virtual communications (telephone, video conferencing, or even team messaging Apps). Meanwhile, all decisions should take the situation, organisational context, and attendees into account.

Essentially, as the Business Leader, you need to set out the rules so that your attendees can connect and solve problems in a united fashion. Your job is to guide, not dictate.

Photo of a business team discussing the meeting's format

Tip #3: Write meeting minutes with clear action logs

The success of the meeting isn’t defined solely by what happens during it. The action taken following its conclusions is what will turn ideas into innovations that produce quantifiable results and improvements. Unfortunately, the human mind will only retain a small percentage of the information discussed during the meeting. Therefore, taking your post-meeting minutes to the next level is essential. It is the only way you will keep attendees engaged with the new tasks that were set.

When recording the minutes, the person responsible for this task should utilise action logs. These logs offer a concise yet clear and detailed outline of what was discussed on each topic to confirm the decisions that were made. For each item on the meeting agenda, the action log should include:

  • Details of What the item is. This should extend beyond a simple title and give clear detail that will make the reader remember this moment from the meeting.
  • An explanation of Why the task is important as well as the reasons for needing it completed.
  • Details of When the deadline has been set for, so that there will be a clear timeframe of when the action needs to be taken.
  • Confirmation of Who is responsible for the task. This could be an individual or a department.
  • Details of What happens next. This should cover the conclusion of the task in question as well as the next step in the project.

A simple template can be created to make this easier for the minutes taker. Simply create a spreadsheet or a document that splits up each item on the agenda and leaves space for all five elements to be answered in a clear and concise manner.

Setting time logs can boost your meeting's success

By the time the finalised minutes and action logs have been sent, every recipient should know who is responsible for each task as well as when it should be completed and the chronology of related issues. In turn, this ensures all subsequent works are completed smoothly and in the desired manner.

If this doesn’t signify the results of a successful meeting, what will?


Strategic board meeting planning should cover every element before, during, and after the event itself. When you utilise all of the three tactics above, you will see success throughout every step of the procedure.

Constructive meetings that drive your business to greatness will follow.

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