Structure of the agenda
A typical board meeting agenda usually includes a heading with identifying information. It has other parts outlined with Roman numerals – each one identifying items that are subjects for your discussion. To create the structure of the board meeting agenda template, include the following:
This is where you state your company’s name and business address along with the time, date, and venue of your meeting.
- Call to Order
Usually, the 1st order of business in a board meeting is the board chair’s announcement of the call to order and the time. The secretary jots down this information in the minutes of the meeting. After the call to order, the board chair can begin the meeting.
- Changes in the Agenda
The 2nd order of business is for the board chair to ask if there are any changes in the agenda. If there are, you will make deletions or additions to the board of directors meeting agenda at this time. If there are no changes, the agenda can move to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
- Approval of Minutes
This is the 3rd item on the agenda. It should include the date of the last meeting. The members of the board should have acquired their own copy of the minutes of the most recent board meeting. Those who haven’t get the opportunity to talk about any changes or corrections during this item on the agenda.
This is the 4th order of business on the agenda. The report must come from the Executive Director and include a review of projects and operations. It is the Executive Director’s responsibility to give an overview of the company’s business outlook including negative and positive trends, business updates, major initiatives, and other important aspects.
- Old Business
Included in this part of the agenda are previous business items that you haven’t resolved, need a board vote, or need further discussion. You can either table these items or refer them to a committee for further discussion.
- New Business
These are the discussions about new business items and plans of action. The plan may include tabling the items, delaying actions, or referring the items to a committee.
- Comments, Announcements, and Other Business
This is where you and the other board members can make announcements like offering condolences, congratulatory messages, or other important announcements. You may discuss any other business not included in your agenda next time.
This indicates the formal end of the meeting announced by the board chair. The board chair should mention the time that the meeting ended so that the secretary can include this information in the minutes. The date of the next meeting must come after the adjournment so that the members can mark their calendars.
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What should be included in a board meeting agenda?
For any business, the board is important as a means of challenging decisions made by executive management. It also devises strategies that ensure the objectives of the management and company align while focusing on the long-term growth and feasibility of your business. A typical board meeting agenda must include:
- Declaration by directors
- Minutes from the previous meeting
- A strategic update including an update on trading conditions and progress against objectives
- A financial update including management accounts, financial reporting, and key performance indicators
- An operational update from the executives including high-level detail on the performance of products and other pertinent information
- Updates on any existing projects or details of any upcoming projects
- Legal or regulatory updates (if needed)
- Include risk as a standing item on the board meeting agenda so that you can monitor potential threats to your company and review these regularly. Also, this allows you to put measures are in place to deal with such risks.
It is also advisable to include matters that concern the future of your company in your board meetings. These matters may include company-wide policies, business planning, succession planning, and long-term strategies.
In general, there are a number of topics reserved for a board meeting agenda template which you outline in your company’s articles of association and memorandum. Typically, this includes the following:
- Strategy and management
- Financial reporting and controls
- Internal controls
- Board membership and appointments
- Executive remuneration
- Evaluation of performance
- Delegation of authority
- Corporate governance matters
You must keep the accurate minutes of all your board meetings and enter these into a minute book. The minutes must indicate the matters that you have discussed in the meetings together with any decisions made and resolutions passed. You should let the chair of the meeting sign this as soon as it’s approved by the board as an accurate reflection of your meeting.
How do you write an agenda for a board meeting?
You may have already seen examples of inadequate preparations and poorly chosen subjects for meeting deliberations. This could directly result in the disinterested attitudes of the board members. This is an expensive exercise as it would only waste the time of your company’s most valuable individuals.
As such, you should avoid this as much as possible. The only sure way to avoid such a mishap is by coming up with a dynamic board of directors meeting agenda. There are only a few steps to take into account to create a powerful and effective sample board meeting agenda to set up your meetings to be collaborative, engaging, and productive.
- Organize the information logically
When you have an organized board meeting agenda, it will help you create board meetings that are much more engaging. Think of the agenda as the roadmap for the chair that acts as the driving force in your meetings. The agenda will help you move from one subject to the next, after addressing all business items.
It also prevents you from taking too much time with specific issues that can be better dealt with in committee meetings. In order for each topic to be sufficiently covered, you need to use clear organization in the agendas that you create.
- Avoid the mistake of information overload
Don’t fall into the trap of including too many reports or too much information in your agendas. While it is true that board members require information to function efficiently, you should not inundate them with unnecessary tasks. This may lead to the board members ignoring your agenda because they don’t have the time to go through such a long document.
- Focus on the substance of the document
You have to make sure that all of the items you include in your agenda have strong content that will invite collaboration. A well-formatted agenda isn’t worth anything if it does not have actionable agenda items. In simpler terms, how an agenda looks matters less than what it plans to cover.
A good move is to plan the meeting first and think about the best way to communicate your plan later. Begin by choosing topics that will affect a majority of the members. If the topics are highly relevant to all of the members at the meeting, it will naturally be more meaningful and invigorating. If you can’t find any topics that will affect at least half of your board members, then you might confront a deeper issue.
- Ask input from others
For a more dynamic and effective agenda, you may consider asking the board members for input. As the saying goes, “two heads – or in this case, several – are better than one.” The gathering of input from the members can spark enthusiasm and will also ensure you are not missing any important points of discussion.
One simple thing you can do is go around the table before the meeting starts and ask each member if they have anything they want to discuss. As for topics already scheduled on the agenda, you can still go around and ask the members if they want to add anything. Sometimes, though, members would say they don’t have anything to add and this could be a meaningful message in itself.
It is an indication that the person feels the subject has been adequately addressed and indicates a readiness to move on to the next item. But, also remember that if this happens frequently, it could mean that your agenda is too lengthy.
- Send the agenda ahead of time
If you want the board members to come prepared for the meeting, you should send them the agenda ahead of time. As soon as you have completed the agenda with key decision-making items and actionable discussion points, you have to share these with the board members.
Doing this gives them the chance to actively contribute and fully prepare, especially for those whom you have assigned to cover one of the items. With enough review time, the agenda will afford board members some level of detail about items for discussion and inspire them to ask provocative questions that in effect can initiate enthusiastic collaboration.
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