How to Open a Board Meeting

There are laws that require open meetings for your board if it is comprised of elected members or you are a non-profit organisation or other public entity. These laws, referred to as Sunshine Laws or Open Meetings Acts will require that board business be conducted in public. Non-members can also attend and, in certain instances, provide comments.

The member who presided over the last meeting will “call the meeting to order” when the board is in order. This typically involves saying”I call this meeting to order’ or something similar in an authoritative voice. In the majority of cases it is followed by two taps on the gavel, which indicates that the meeting has officially started.

Before the meeting starts be sure to have a a clear agenda. The agenda should be focused and clearly define the key topics that the board will need to discuss, as well as the decisions they have to make. Resist putting too many items on the agenda or reusing an agenda from an earlier meeting.

Interrupting your board with discussions on new topics can consume valuable time and distract the participants from the things you have on your agenda. You might want to consider adding a parking space at the end of your meeting agenda. This is where you can include issues that aren’t top of the line. You can also promise to revisit them in the future or include them in the next meeting.

Request feedback from your board about how the meetings are running and what you can improve them. This will help your board members feel more involved and interested in the outcome of the meeting.

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