There are techniques that can help you run a successful meeting.
I had a fabulous secretary, Anne Gover, while I was President of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific and I appointed Anne as my Procedural Consultant when I became the international president. Her administrative skills saved us hours of work and eliminated objections to minutes.
We utilised a consent agenda which received all the reports that did not have recommendations. This left the responsibility of reading and understanding the reports to the Directors, and saved time because we did not have to go through each report in the business session. They were received in one resolution. Directors were given the opportunity to remove a report from the consent agenda if they wished to discuss its contents.
No surprises for the President:
When you are chairing an important meeting, and all board meetings are important, then you are trying to manage a multitude of things – getting through the agenda in the time allocated, ensuring everyone has their say, not getting bogged down.. and the greatest challenge is dealing, on the spot, with a challenge. Much of this can be avoided if a Director has a query or concern and lets the Chair know beforehand.
We need to remember: We are all human, and trying to do our best. The best results come from working as a team. We are all on the same side. We all want the best for the organisation and to achieve our mission.
Let’s do the business in an environment of mutual trust.
If I know there is a concern before the meeting I can think about it and come up with a solution. If I am put on the spot the best solution does not always bubble to the surface.
I asked the SI Board Directors to support me do my best for the Board by letting me know their concerns before the meeting. I couldn’t always resolve it myself – but at least I knew the concern would be raised.
I think we made better progress with the philosophy of “no surprises on the day.”
3. The Minutes were created live:
The minutes for the meeting were projected onto a screen/s for all Directors to follow. This required the secretary to have created a meeting template that included who was in attendance, apologies, the full agenda and all the recommendations ready to include the mover/ seconder and result. For GoToMeeting sessions all Directors were behind their computers with the same agenda / minutes in front of them.
A lot of preparation was made before the meeting. Reports had to be distributed in the set timeframe to ensure Directors had the opportunity to read them. Late reports were only accepted at the discretion of the Board, and having late papers held up the pace of the meeting. Be kind and fair by having your reports in on time. Our HQ Staff had a huge task getting all agenda items together in time.
Having the minutes live, on screen, meant that all Directors could see what was included. At the end of the meeting there was little tidying up required and the minutes could be sent out to Directors within the next few days while it was fresh. Approving the minutes became the simple task it should be.
PPPPP – Prior preparation promotes positive performance.