Are Your Board Meetings Boring?

Joe Weinlick
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By nature, board meetings are boring. Because they happen infrequently, companies are often forced to pack each meeting with an endless stream of facts, figures and presentations. A bored board does nothing for a company; to help your board members lead with inspiration and enthusiasm, spice up your board meetings.

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During standard board meetings, the directors sit through presentations about the state of the company. The onslaught of facts can leave participants feeling overwhelmed and struggling to formulate insights on the spot. By distributing the key statistics, progress reports and metrics before the meeting, you can give the board of directors time to process the information and come up with ideas for change. For this strategy to work, board members must be willing to dedicate time to prepare before the meeting.

Diversify the Speaker Schedule

All too often, board meetings involve long-winded presentations by the same few speakers. If you notice that board members are losing focus or disengaging during a meeting, try switching up the speaker schedule. Bring in high-performing employees to present exciting new opportunities or ask your best managers to discuss staffing. This strategy automatically brings new energy to the room and gives the board of directors the chance to get to know your top talent.

Talk Strategy

When you're bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae of business operations, it can be easy to let strategic discussions slide. Wake up your board meetings by dedicating a specific period of time to strategy. Give each person the chance to bring up ideas for new market sectors, business ventures or leadership opportunities. In the process, you can take advantage of the board's collective knowledge and give members the chance to guide the company's path. When your board members feel useful and needed, they may be more likely to engage with others and participate in the meeting.

Create a Focused Environment

Too many distractions can drain the energy from a meeting in seconds. If you notice that board members are spending more time on their phones than on the issues at hand, consider a distraction-free zone. Ask the board to agree on an electronics ban during meetings. Participants should turn off their electronic devices or leave them outside of the room; assistants can deliver messages in an emergency. Switch off any nonessential televisions and computers and draw the shades to block out external distractions. A calm and quiet environment can help participants focus their thoughts and energy, leading to more engaging board meetings.

Reshaping the structure of board meetings is no small feat, particularly if your company is entrenched in its process. For most companies, eliminating boring meetings can help the board develop the strategy and leadership that will take business to the next level.


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