A board meeting is a meeting of the board of directors that sets the policy and strategic direction for a corporation, publicly-traded company, government body, or non-profit.
What is the purpose of a board meeting?
A board meeting is held to review the strategic plan that has been developed by the board of directors. The goal is for the directors to agree on which direction to move in and how it will be implemented. Simply put, a board meeting is a meeting to set policy and strategy.
How is a board meeting structured?
Board meetings can vary depending on how mature a company is. Start-ups and tech companies sometimes favor a more pragmatic approach, while larger corporations typically follow strict guidelines meant to help provide order and structure. Still, many of the components of these board meetings remain very similar.
Before a board meeting begins, a document is circulated, consisting of a report by each director itemizing anything that needs attention and their value judgments concerning various issues.
When the board meeting begins, a person, usually the CEO of the company, presents an overview of how well their goals are being met and any issues that need to be addressed. Directors may present on their sections as well, or merely be present to answer questions if the report was sufficient.
Following this, a member of the board will raise topics that they feel need addressing or comment on progress toward various goals. The board chair will then elicit discussion by seeking comments on what was presented and take action on any issues that came up.
The board may wish to have a discussion without the CEO or others leaders present, in order to assess their performance.
Sometimes other procedural motions are required before the meeting is adjourned, such as certifying stock option grants.
Board meeting minutes templates
We have two different agenda templates for board meetings.
The first is a formal board meeting minutes template that includes aspects of Robert's Rules of Order, a type of parliamentary procedure used by some board meetings. This includes steps like a Call to Order, Motions from members of the board, and Adjournment.
This board meeting agenda template is based on a more modern approach used by tech companies and start-ups. It skips with some of the official procedure and jumps straight into the meat of the meeting. A board meeting agenda template like this one is terrific if your company is small enough that you don't need many rules or procedures to run your meeting.
How do you act in a board meeting?
All corporation meetings are chaired by a presiding director of the company. This person has the power to decide what will be discussed and ultimately decided upon at a board meeting.
Directors who have any comments or want to raise an issue can do so by giving advance notice. It is also possible for directors to propose resolutions that require voting at a future date. This gives everyone time for discussion prior to taking a vote. The group will then discuss these items until they come up with decisions about what should be done.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the presiding director will call for any items that require a vote to be voted on and recorded.
How are board meetings recorded?
Because a board meeting is an official meeting, board meeting minutes are typically recorded by a secretary who records all decisions made by the group and any actions that were taken. The board secretary is sometimes also the chief financial officer (CFO).
By taking minutes, there is an official record of what happened in the meeting. Generally, this recording process prevents any misunderstanding as to what transpired.
What opinions are shared during a board meeting?
During a board meeting, there are many different opinions shared by the group. Some directors may question how certain decisions are being made while others may want to be more involved in an issue. The goal of the board meeting is to come to an agreement about what should be done in the future and how it should be implemented.
Board Meeting Tips
Before you attend your first board meeting, ask questions. You may want to consider attending a training session beforehand or speaking with someone who is already on the board.
Raise your hand and wait to be called on before you speak. Directors with questions or comments should speak up as soon as they have something they want to say. You will not be able to interrupt the discussion if you do not speak up.
Board meetings are not intended for individual directors to present long speeches about themselves. It is acceptable to comment on a particular topic with which you have some expertise or ask questions if you do not understand something presented.
Be brief and have a main focus when you are speaking.
Remember that everyone on the board has equal power, so be sure you are respectful when making a comment or asking a question.
Do CEOs attend board meetings?
The board's members are its key decision-makers. For many organizations, yes. However, if the CEO's performance is being evaluated by the board (who can fire the CEO), the CEO may not allowed to attend.