Inefficiently-run board meetings are time-wasters that can make even the most enthusiastic board member cringe at the thought of an upcoming session. By contrast, a well-run board meeting can be a productive hour or two that benefits the entire building. Here are a few tips from the pros for getting the most out of your meetings.
Preparing for the Meeting
Nobody should be heading into a monthly board meeting unprepared and uninformed. Gone are the days when the board meeting served as the primary method of disseminating information; today rapid communication is vital to staying up to speed with building and board issues.
“In this age of e-mail, BlackBerry [devices] and the easy distribution of information, board members are kept up-to-date weekly, daily, and by the hour,” says Mitchell Berg, director of management for Manhattan-based Maxwell-Kates, Inc. “Years ago, board meetings used to be the culmination of all that had transpired since the prior meeting. It was a forum for catching up on information. Today, that is no longer the case.”
“Ideally, an agenda for a meeting is established a week prior to the meeting and all pertinent information for effective discussion is disseminated at least a few days in advance of the meeting,” Berg continues. “It is the role of the managing agent to provide each director or manager with as much background information for each topic on the agenda in advance of the meeting so the members are prepared.”
Preparation for the next meeting can begin almost as soon as the first one ends. “The minutes of a completed meeting should be issued within a few days of the meeting and comments, corrections and additions sought at that time,” says Berg. “The minutes, amended or as originally written, should then be recalculated with the agenda for the next meeting. It is less than efficient for a member to read the prior meeting minutes for the first time at the subsequent meeting.”