As a business owner, business executive, or other stakeholder in a company, you will be required to conduct board meetings regularly or on occasions. Since these meetings are meant to serve the purpose of group communication and idea sharing among the bigwigs in a company or industry, you need to understand how to conduct them effectively in order to achieve this purpose.

If a board meeting succeeds, the most of the credit goes to the individual who chaired the meeting. And if it fails to achieve its purpose, most of the blame goes to the same individual. The only difference between a successful meeting and a failed one lies in how both are run. Would you like to run successful board meetings that will achieve their purpose? The following ten tips will help you.

10 Powerful Tips for Running a Board Meeting Successfully

1. Define goals and distribute agenda in advance

One of the easiest ways to waste time at a meeting is to require participants to suggest ideas or suggestions for something they are hearing about for the first time at that meeting. Yet, this mistake is very common.

Rather than waste precious time at a meeting by turning it into a brainstorming session, you can create a structure for the meeting and communicate the agenda to invited participants in advance. This way, they would have brainstormed for ideas and even fine-tuned them before the meeting date. This will save a lot of time and help you achieve more in a single meeting.

2. Take charge throughout the meeting

Good meetings are products of good leadership. So, be in control of the meeting and make it clear to attendees that you intend to keep the meeting relevant and brief. Place a clock where everyone will see it to show your colleagues at the meeting that you really value their time. During the meeting, ensure that your discussions don’t go off-topic. Each time this happens, refocus the group by reminding them of the relevant issues you have on the meeting’s agenda.

3. Allow everyone to contribute

The essence of calling a meeting in the first place is to ensure two way flow of communication. To that end, it’s important to encourage honest and relevant contributions from everyone present at the meeting. As the leader of the meeting, you can easily fall into the mistake of wearing your opinion on your sleeve, but you must be wary if this, as it defeats the purpose of the meeting. Avoid the temptation to dismiss other people’s contributions immediately—even when they sound risible or plain dumb.

4. End your meeting with an action plan

One of the hallmarks of a successful meeting is an action plan that details the various strategies to be implemented based on the decisions made at the meeting, the individuals in charge of the implementation, the date and time of the implementation, and the expected result of the strategy.

5. Keep detailed minutes of the meeting

Having someone record the minutes or proceeding of a meeting is very important. The minutes will serve as proof that the meeting was held and a historical reference for clarifying any doubts or misunderstandings that might arise over the proceedings of the meeting.

6. Eliminate all distractions from the venue

While it’s expected that all attendees at the meeting do away with all personal distractions such as smartphones and tablets, it’s equally expected that you—as the leader of the meeting—remove all distractions from the venue of the meeting. For example, if a meeting is to hold in your company’s launch room, switch off the LED TV, as it would be difficult for your attendees to not glance at it at intervals during the meeting if you keep it on.

7. Never interrupt anyone

Even if you are superior to all other attendees at the meeting, you must always resist the temptation to cut in when they are speaking. Even if you disagree strongly with what they are saying or you think it is bullshit, allow them to finish before addressing their points.

8. Pay maximum attention

When you are running a meeting, everyone keeps eyes contact with you when they are speaking. Listening attentively to them is a way to tell them that you respect their opinions and that you are willing to hear them out. Only few things could be annoying to others at a meeting than fiddling with your smartphone when they are speaking. It sends signals that you don’t value their opinions and that the meeting itself isn’t important to you.

9. Manage conflict well-: It’s common for conflicts to arise at board meetings. If that happens at meeting you are running, try as much as possible to control it without leaving hard feelings in the minds of anyone.

10. Recognize and thank everyone present

At the end of a board meeting, acknowledge the presence of everyone present and thank them for attending the meeting and for making significant contributions. Tell attendees that you appreciate them will motivate them to be more engaged in subsequent meetings.

Ajaero Tony Martins