As bored and distracted fellow board members can attest, sometimes it feels as though meetings are held for the sake of holding a meeting, rather than for any meaningful purpose. Other times, the information conveyed during lengthy, sometimes plodding meetings could have been better shared via a simple email.

So, the first “half-step” to any successful meeting is asking whether one is warranted. An advisory board meeting should serve a purpose and address specific objectives. If you simply need to share updates or developments, an email announcement will probably suffice.

If you do decide an advisory board meeting is warranted, follow the next nine steps.

Step One: Declare a clear objective for the meeting. Meetings should revolve around a clear objective. Communicate to members why you’re meeting, what the goal is, and what the expected outcome is.

Step Two: Select the appropriate participants. It is possible – even likely – that the presence of every board member is not required at every meeting. Evaluate who the key players are in this scenario, so that you can narrow your focus and reduce distractions.

Step Three: Ask, “what’s in it for them?” What do your participants need from this meeting? What information or support can you provide to help improve their performance? Answering this question will help hold their interest and likely reap better results.

Step Four: Choose the right form for the meeting. Does the meeting need to happen in person? Will a Zoom call suffice? Do you need additional technology for presentations?

Step Five: Choose the right time. Choose a time that is free from other distractions and that allows members to focus on the issues at hand. If changes are in store for the company, you should hold the meeting at an appropriate time to allow for necessary adjustments, but not so far in advance that members lose steam working toward specific goals.

Step Six: Send clear invitations. Invitees need to know why their presence is requested, what role they are expected to fill, and what outcome is planned.

Step Seven: Execute the meeting efficiently. Human beings are creatures of habit. They appreciate knowing what to expect. When you run a meeting efficiently, you not only generate success, but also set an expectation for the future. In that vein, commit to:

  • Reducing distractions
  • Staying on time
  • Creating a schedule and following it
  • Moving smoothly from one topic to the next
  • Answering questions briefly, promising a more detailed follow-up when necessary
  • Building in extra time for unexpected delays

Step Eight: Follow up with members. Reach out to attendees afterward and request feedback for any unanswered issues or questions.

Step Nine: Evaluate your strategy and work toward continual improvement. Based on feedback, create a list of objectives to improve the next meeting. The success of each advisory board meeting depends not only upon member participation, but also on the organizer’s flexibility and accommodations for the needs of the group.

For matters regarding organizing and operating your business, we are here to help. Reach out to us with any questions you might have.

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