How to Create Safe Board Meetings

A safe board meeting allows directors to speak freely while being respectful, constructive and critical. This allows them to consider opinions and make well-informed decisions that aid in the overall success of the organization.

The board chair is the most important factor in creating a secure board atmosphere by setting the tone, showing respect and ensuring that discussions remain on topic and civil. The chair should also lead meetings to allow everyone to speak and allow the secretary the time to write notes.

A well-written agenda is a essential element of a safe board meeting. Prioritize the most important items and move non-essential items to later sessions. The agenda should contain an executive session section and also reports that need to be reviewed and approved.

It’s crucial to send out the agenda as well as any reports that need to be reviewed prior to the meeting so that the board members can go through them prior to the discussion. This will allow board members to be better prepared for the meeting and will reduce the time spent going through reports during the meeting.

It is also important to allow plenty of discussion and questions during the meeting. It isn’t easy to finish an agenda without a lot of discussion and debate. A skilled facilitator can be very useful in this scenario. Board members should be able to discuss safety concerns, incidents and potential hazards.

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