Good decision-making requires effective board communication. Improve board communication with these 6 tips.
If you’re like most board administrators, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about communication. After all, good board communications serve as the foundation for good decision-making. Effective communication helps move your organization forward. When board members are kept up-to-date on the latest news and developments, they make more informed decisions about the future of the organization.
Proper board communication also provides clarity on roles and expectations and establishes trust between the board and management. But how do you improve communication with your board members? Read these 6 tips for better board communication.
6 Ways to Improve Communication with Board Members
Great communication with board members enables your organization to plan and act with a common purpose. Follow these tips to improve communication within your board:
1. Establish a Communication Strategy
One of the best ways to improve communication is to create a communication strategy. This means developing a plan for how you’ll communicate with your board members and setting specific goals for each type of communication. For example, you may set a goal that all board materials are easy to understand and distributed two weeks in advance of the board meetings.
Consider sharing contact information of all directors and officers (with their permission) or posting the latest board meeting minutes on the board portal. This way, every member stays connected to the team, which not only helps improve communication, but builds rapport and facilitates productivity.
Tailor your communication strategy to fit your organization’s needs, adjusting contact methods based on members’ preferences.
2. Understand Board Member Communication Styles
Understand the unique ways your board members prefer to communicate. For example, some people are visual learners, while others prefer to receive information in writing.
Most of the time when board members don’t work together effectively, it’s because their communication styles don’t mesh, so you must also consider the way your board members like to communicate with each other. Some boards prefer to have formal meetings, while others are more informal. While certain board members may expect to receive a phone call about important issues, others may be comfortable receiving a text message.
3. Implement the Right Technology
Many organizations use technology to improve communication. With team members spread out and in-person meetings less frequent, video conferencing software and chat tools bridge communication gaps. Task management tools help keep team members and projects on track.
If you’re not already using technology to communicate with your board members, it may be time to consider doing so. Not only can it improve communication, but it saves time and money.
While technology enhances communication, you must use it wisely. For example, avoid sending long email chains or posting too much information on social media. This may cause information overload to hinder your board members from interacting. Instead, try to use technology to facilitate better communication by scheduling online meetings or using a messaging app for quick communication. Lastly, ensure any tech you use keeps your organization’s data and communications secure and compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and HIPAA.
4. Foster Open and Transparent Communication
Offering transparency, diversity of thought, and focusing on the decision-making process improves effective board member communication.
Be open and honest with your board members when sharing good and bad information. Give everyone a chance to voice their opinions by appointing board members who represent different aspects of the organization. You should also welcome constructive criticism and be willing to change your course of action if needed.
While diversity of thought is welcome, board members must focus on the decision-making process, not letting egos or disagreements get in the way.
5. Set Expectations
When board members aren’t clear on expectations or their roles within the organization, communication breaks down. Set expectations for board members and administrators to establish what is expected of each party in terms of communication.
A roles and terms management tool helps track your board’s experience, background, and term limits. Providing this database to your members clarifies roles and helps them find the right board member to contact when they have questions.
6. Encourage Feedback
Encouraging feedback helps identify areas where the communication process can be improved and gives board members a chance to share their thoughts and opinions, which allows you to build stronger relationships with them.
There are myriad ways to solicit feedback, including through email, surveys, or even in 1-on-1s after board meetings.
Improve Your Board Communication with OnBoard
Good decision-making requires excellent communication. OnBoard can help with that! Its board management software allows boards to communicate with board members in a secure, online environment. OnBoard provides a variety of features, such as message boards, polls, surveys, meeting briefs, and engagement analytics, and houses everything in a protected, unified system of record to consolidate emails and texts. The all-in-one information hub allows board members to track their board’s activities, send out meeting agendas and minutes, and keep everyone up-to-date on the latest news and events.
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