How to Conduct an Executive Board Meeting | Aprio Board Portal
How to conduct an executive board meeting
December 20, 2023
Dee Sicklesteel

How to conduct more efficient executive board meetings

If you want to set your executive board up for success, you need to arm directors with the right tools to conduct their board meetings as effectively as possible. That means keeping each board member engaged and accountable as well as fostering active participation and open discussions during your meetings.

How can you make your executive board meetings more effective? Read on to see our 5 tips.

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If your board meetings need to be more productive, consider using board management software with time-saving administrative features, secure materials distribution and collaboration tools.

How to expertly conduct an executive board meeting

Running better board meetings starts with a well-structured agenda that focuses on the key issues. It’s also essential to ensure active participation and collaboration among your board. Be sure to encourage diverse viewpoints and constructive discussions in and outside of your board meetings.

Tip #1: Create a well-structured executive board agenda

Well-run executive board meetings don’t just happen by chance, it takes a well-planned agenda to keep the board focused and engaged on the right strategic priorities.

While the specific agenda items can vary based on the organization’s goals and operations, consider including the following items while allocating enough time for strategic discussion.

  • Call to Order: begin the meeting with the chairperson or board president calling the meeting to order, welcoming participants, and ensuring that there is a quorum (the minimum number of members required for the meeting to proceed).
  • Approval of Minutes: review the minutes from the previous board meeting and approve if accurate. Make any corrections or amendments as needed.
  • CEO or Executive Director’s Report: The CEO or executive director shares an update on the organization’s performance, recent developments, and key achievements or challenges since the last meeting.
  • Financial Reports: discuss the organization’s financial status including reports on revenue, expenses, budgets, investments, and financial forecasts. Your board may review and approve financial statements.
  • Strategic Updates: The board may receive updates on the organization’s strategic plan, progress toward strategic goals, and any proposed strategic updates for discussion.
  • Committee Reports: If the organization has board committees (e.g., finance, audit, governance, nominating), committee chairs provide reports on their respective areas, including recommendations or actions taken.
  • Special Topics and Presentations (if applicable): The agenda may include presentations or discussions on special topics or initiatives relevant to the organization’s mission and goals.
  • New Business: Board members have the opportunity to introduce new agenda items, propose motions, or discuss emergent issues not covered in the agenda.
  • Executive Session: Some executive board meetings include a closed executive session where board members can discuss sensitive or confidential matters, such as legal issues, personnel matters, or strategic planning without staff or non-board members present.
  • Voting and Decision-Making: Board members may vote on motions, resolutions, or decisions requiring board approval either as topics occur in the meeting or grouped at a voting slot later in the agenda. Voting outcomes are recorded in the minutes.
  • Action Items and Assignments: Specific action items are identified, and responsibilities are assigned to board members or staff to ensure follow-up on decisions made during the meeting.
  • Public Comment (if applicable): Some organizations allow for public or stakeholder comments at board meetings, or annual general meetings, providing an opportunity for external input.
  • Adjournment: The meeting is officially concluded, and the chairperson or board president adjourns the session.
  • Next Meeting Date: The date, time, and location of the next board meeting are announced, and any proposed agenda items for the next meeting may be discussed.
  • Closing Remarks: Board leadership or the CEO or executive director may offer closing remarks, express gratitude, or highlight key takeaways from the meeting.

To help keep your executive board meeting on track, be sure that your meeting agenda assigns time limits and presenters to each topic, and indicate where motions will occur to guide minute taking. Board portal software like Aprio makes the creation and distribution of agendas and meeting minutes simple with time-saving features and customizable templates.

Tip #2: Distribute executive board materials well in advance

A well-prepared board is the cornerstone for productive, well-informed and strategic discussions during a board meeting. To make the most of your valuable meeting time, distribute your board materials in advance, at least one week.

Leave meeting time for substantive discussions, decision-making and strategic planning – not a session for disseminating information. Provide reports, financial data, and relevant documents to board members well before the meeting, board members can review and digest the information at their own pace and are better equipped to make informed decisions.

Consider using board meeting software like Aprio to securely store your board materials including the next meeting’s board package. With board members having self-serve access to board information, board chairs and administrators are freed up from constantly having to re-share information with the board.

executive board meeting should have clear decision making processes

Tip #3: Encourage collaboration and communication outside of executive board meetings

Effective boards get more done outside of the boardroom. Whether it’s reviewing meeting agendas, giving feedback on reports, or working on important strategies – consider how to enable board members to collaborate on these materials before the meeting even starts.

Board management software makes it easier for your board of directors to collaborate and communicate all within one secure online environment. With tools like chat, annotations, online voting, surveys and polls, there’s no need for sending unsecured emails back and forth and then having to search through a sprawling email thread to find what you’re looking for.

Tip #4: Use clear decision-making processes during executive board meetings

Clear decision-making is a fundamental aspect of effective board governance. Transparent and well-documented decision-making processes ensure your board is complying with strong governance requirements, but can also help build confidence and trust among board members, executives and stakeholders.

Make it easy for board members to approve, disprove or abstain from a board vote, both in and outside your board meeting. Board software like Aprio includes online voting and signature tracking to enable the board of directors to make secure, quick, and efficient decisions from anywhere. Voting and adding signatures via a board portal also helps to make decision-making transparent and provides equitable input and influence for all board members.

Tip #5: Hold board members accountable after each executive board meeting

Effective boards follow through. From strategies, policies, or initiatives that were discussed and approved, helping your board commit to action and stay on top of outstanding items goes a long way in helping your organization meet its strategic goals and objectives. But most board members have busy schedules beyond their board work. It can be easy for action items to fall through the cracks.

The good news is that board portals make it easy to keep track of the full board’s action items and keep individual board members organized. In Aprio, you can assign board members to an action item, assign a priority level, add a due date and send reminders. As soon as they log in, board members see their due action items as well as upcoming meetings and important news.

Aprio board portal features

Effective executive board meetings start with Aprio board portal software

Board portals are a secret weapon behind effective executive boards. Aprio’s board portal software helps organizations large and small efficiently run executive board meetings, increase board engagement, and safeguard sensitive board information.

Aprio stands out in the industry for providing unmatched expert service and an easy-to-use, secure board management system that works the way a board works. In addition to a fully-guided onboarding experience, Aprio offers unlimited on-demand training and ongoing expert customer support you can rely on at any time. If you need help or have a question, you can rely on Aprio to get responsive, expert help from real people who care, any time, any day.

Whether you’re looking to make a switch in board meeting software or are considering using board software for the first time, we’re happy to help you assess the fit with Aprio! Get in touch with our sales team.

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