How to Write an Effective Board Meeting Agenda

A well-written agenda for board meetings is one of the most crucial elements to an effective and productive board meeting. An agenda that is well-written provides a framework for discussion and decision-making, and allows all stakeholders to leave the meeting with a clear understanding of the issues discussed and voted on. An effective board meeting agenda will allow you to move quickly between meeting topics without getting bogged down in the details and make your meetings more engaging for everyone.

Begin with the most crucial items. Starting with the most important items on your agenda allows the leader to receive feedback and stimulate discussion when attendees’ minds are fresh. This approach can help attendees to arrive earlier, since they are aware that the most interesting discussions will begin immediately.

Examine all reports made by committees, board members and executives. This is necessary to ensure that any needed follow-ups have been addressed. It can also assist in avoiding spending time in meetings reviewing old business issues that should have been discussed by the various committees of the board.

Dedicate enough time to discussions and strategic planning. This is essential for the board’s ability to guide the organization successfully. Be sure to include an area for both “old business” as well as “new business” so that the board gets an opportunity to review any follow-ups that are relevant and strategies that are new.

Long reports and other routine issues can slow down meetings and distract board members away from the most important issues. The “parking lot agenda” or “consent schedule” can cut down on the time spent on these issues.