Whether you’re a first-time board member or a veteran of many boards, always remember that you’re chosen for a reason: your expertise, insight, experience, and anything else that organizations deem beneficial. Therefore, it’s crucial that you face all board meetings with a strong desire to help your organizations move forward in the right direction. After all, they count on you.
As board member, here are things you can do to help you have the right attitude for board meetings:
Corporate secretaries usually send board packs two to three days before a board meeting to give board members enough time to review; thus, there’s no excuse for putting off the task until the last minute. You are expected to join the board meeting with full knowledge of the agenda and its discussion topics, so take a moment to sit down and go through the meeting files. If your organization uses a paperless board portal solution like Boardbooks, BoardVantage, BoardPad, or Anywhere Pad, you’ll receive a digital board pack which you can access whenever and wherever you are, as long as you’re connected to the Internet on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device.
The minutes and other meeting files of the last board meeting can help you put into context the agenda of the upcoming one. These documents will serve as reminders of any unfinished tasks and unresolved issues the board left open for future deliberation. It will be beneficial if you review these documents alongside with the board pack because they can address some questions you may have, especially if the board pack makes references to topics previously discussed. A board portal archives all the files for past board meetings, so you should be able to access them easily either on the web-based portal or through your iPad or Android device. Some board portals, such as Anywhere Pad, allow you to add your own set of private files to be used as a reference during the meeting. This is the time to do so.
It’s ideal to have any confusion cleared up before the board meeting starts so that no time will be wasted on administrative tasks such as updating and explaining. If you have any questions that can’t be answered by the files in the board pack, don’t hesitate to reach out to your fellow board members and talk about the upcoming board meeting with them. You have the option to do this virtually if your schedule is full. On the board portal, you can remotely collaborate with fellow board members on various meeting documents.
Some organizations arrange a pre-board meeting dinner for all board members the night before. If your schedule permits, make it a point to attend so that you can get to know the other people on the board. The social setting of a dinner will help board members feel more relaxed around one another, resulting in more a productive and effective board meeting. This is also a great way to expand your professional network.
5. Be early:
Whether you’re physically joining a board meeting in a boardroom or virtually attending from a remote location with the help of a board portal, show up early. Don’t be late — don’t even be just on time. If there are any last-minute updates, you’ll want to be there to catch them before the board meeting starts. Most board portals have an email notification to remind participants of the upcoming meeting. Make sure your administrators configure this properly.
Your mobile devices should help you focus in the board meeting, and not to distract you from it. If your organization uses a board portal with document-sharing capabilities like Anywhere Pad, you can view presentations in real time, share annotations with fellow board members, and access meeting files as needed on your smartphone or tablet.
You’ll encounter other board members whose opinions differ from yours. Such is the nature of a board meeting, so try to keep an open mind to what others have to say. In the end, no decision will be made without forming a quorum for it, so you can be assured that the majority will still win. If you do find yourself in the minority, voice your opposition reasonably, but show your support for the board’s final decision.
When it comes to decision-making, use all the resources you have to make informed choices for the good of your organization. As a board member, you are in a position to be a significant contributor, so make use of that privilege wisely. Board portals make it easy to review past information.
9. Follow up:
After the board meeting, review the minutes and other files on the board portal to check if the board accomplished all the tasks it set out to complete. Doing this will help you identify the next board meeting’s focus. Anywhere Pad, for example, automatically sends a summary email after the meeting is concluded.
Being a board member is a big responsibility that you should take seriously, but you’ll also get plenty of rewarding experiences from it. Are you up to the challenge?