Ways to Liven Up Your Board Meetings – and Your Board

Focus the agenda on results. Decide what is needed most out of this meeting and tell your board members what you need: “By the end of this meeting, we need to accomplish x, y, and z.” That will get their attention.


Be creative with the agenda. Look for ways to tweak the meeting plan to evoke your board members’ passion for your cause. Perhaps there’s a way of presenting a report that is more song-and-dance and less a dry recital of figures. Think of ways that you can humanize any presentation and bring it to life.


Consider occasionally throwing out the agenda altogether. Although radical, consider the benefits: the board creates its own agenda by consensus at the beginning of the meeting. That way everyone is immediately paying more attention to the work that needs to get accomplished.


Focus on problems, challenges, or ambiguous issues. This will activate your board members’ various backgrounds and skills sets, not to mention their interest. It will allow you to draw upon a deeper reservoir of their talent and energy, and will give them more interesting work.


Plan big. Bring big-picture strategic planning issues into regular board meetings. For example, take the standard strategic planning issues focusing on organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,(SWOT analysis) and work them into regular meeting agendas.


Look at your board meetings as cheerleading sessions designed to f ire up your board

members and put them into action.


Use consent agendas for routine business items that do not require much board discussion.


Interview the CEO. Consider allowing time for the board members to interview the CEO about what is on his/her mind. What keeps the CEO up at night?


Let the board members do the talking.  They will be far more interested in the work at hand. Set up agendas with 70% of the time in conversation and 30% of the time listening to presentations.


Always choose one interesting item and set it up for a discussion.


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