How to guide your board meetings as a chair?

Board meetings are a very effective method of management because, with their help, you can increase both the motivation of board members and the clarity of execution and debug the interaction of departments. So, what is the role of a chairman in a board meeting?

Board meeting: the key responsibilities of the chairman

A board meeting is a highly effective but time-consuming management method, so it is necessary to consider the most important issues that require the development of collective decisions. To make the most of the time allotted for a meeting, you need to think through its organization step by step and solve the tasks.

The chairman directs the debate, maintains order and enforces the standing orders, puts questions before the meeting for decision, and confirms and announces consensus. Modern board software solutions contain tools that can greatly simplify board meeting preparation for the chairman: 

  • chat for preliminary discussion,
  • the ability to invite participants with one click, 
  • connect remote colleagues,
  • automatic reminders, 
  • show presentations, 
  • record and distribute them.

But along with the possibilities of online meetings, they impose additional responsibility on the chairman. So here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing to board meetings:

    • Reliability and compatibility. Connection issues should not affect the start time or progress of the meeting. The chairman should choose a solution that all participants can use, regardless of the device and software installed.
    • Visualization and data. Giving a presentation, sharing documents, or sharing your screen is essential for online meetings.
    • Documentation. For board members to refresh their memory of a particular part of the meeting at any time, it is helpful to record the entire conversation and make the recording available to attendees.
    • Confidentiality. Since participants discuss important business issues and share documents and other materials during an online meeting, preventing the leakage or unauthorized access to such information is very important.

Basic tips for the chairman to make the meeting successful

The role of the chairman in the board meeting preparation is the most important, and there can be no other. So, there are several commandments of a chairman when holding a meeting:

    • The chairman should not lose sight of the main goal of the meetings – the development of management decisions provided for in the agenda items and firmly guide all participants towards this goal.
    • Demand high-quality implementation of the decisions of the meeting from the participants. At the same time, respect other points of view, do not humiliate or insult colleagues and remember that your current subordinate may also be in the leader’s place after some time, so consider human nature.
    • With insecure leadership, the effectiveness of meetings drops sharply. Dual power should not be allowed at the meeting because this will quickly reveal another informal leader with other views and approaches to problems than yours.
    • Make good use of meeting time resources. Focusing on the agenda, keep track of the total meeting time and quotas for topics, questions, and speeches. The secretary supervises the regulations, and the leader is obliged to correctly but firmly stop the speakers above the allotted time.
    • To catch original thoughts, new fresh ideas, and independent judgments emanating from the participants of the meeting, while not forgetting that the leader can frighten away the opinion of a subordinate with a careless word and even look at him, the poor, with a look.
    • Do not overestimate your role at the meeting and management at any level of control. One must be able to see and feel the practical limits of one’s powers and act accordingly.