Planning a committee meeting? Learn how to host an effective committee meeting by following these simple, straightforward steps.
All great ideas start with a resourceful meeting, and the same is true for committees.
If you’re in charge of organizing committee meetings or capturing meeting minutes, you know they can be stressful. You want your board committee members to feel comfortable and engaged, but you also need them to get their work done efficiently.
But the big question is, how do you make sure that happens?
For starters, you must understand what a committee meeting is — why you might want to host it and what you would discuss. Next, you must adhere to a step-by-step procedure, from calling the meeting to order to adjourning it. Last but not least, it helps to have board committee management software that makes it effortless to enter minutes, take votes, make announcements, collaborate on various agendas, and more.
What is a Committee Meeting?
A committee meeting is a gathering of people working together toward a common goal. It could be as simple as a group of friends getting together to talk about upcoming events or a nonprofit organization deliberating on a specific mission, e.g., scrutinizing the financial reporting process.
Regardless of its purpose, a committee meeting should always include at least one person designated as chairperson (or president). The chairperson usually coordinates the meeting, keeps everyone on track, and ensures all attendees are heard and understood.
Here are a few instances to hold a committee meeting:
- When there’s a need to create a new policy or set of procedures
- To review existing policies and procedures
- To determine whether any changes need to be made to current policies and procedures
- To approve or disapprove specific actions taken by other committees
- To deliberate on issues related to the overall direction of the organization
- To vote on crucial decisions such as hiring, firing, or budgeting
- To give feedback to the board of directors regarding the performance of the executive director
- To provide input into the strategic planning process
- To elect officers or directors
- To conduct special elections
Committee Meeting Steps
Below, we provide a step-by-step breakdown of what it takes to host an effective committee meeting.
1. Call the Meeting to Order
The first thing you’ll want to do is call the meeting to order. This may seem like an intimidating task, especially if it’s your first time hosting a committee meeting. But it gets better with time. Here are a few best practices for calling a meeting to order:
- Understand the purpose of the meeting. What is the reason for the meeting, as outlined in the board committee charter? Is it to discuss a particular topic or issue? To decide on a course of action? To elect officers or directors? To approve a budget? To vote on a decision?
- Select a place, time, and method for the meeting. Make sure the location is accessible, comfortable, and conducive to discussion. Also, consider whether it’s possible to accommodate everyone in attendance.
- Identify the agenda items. Are there any topics you’d like to cover during the meeting? If so, write them down and present them to the attendees before the meeting begins.
- Send the meeting notice. Send a meeting notice 24 hours before the scheduled date and time. This gives everyone ample time to prepare.
- Adjust the board papers. Before the meeting starts, ensure all the documents about the meeting have been printed. These can include agendas, minutes, reports, and other relevant materials. It’s worth noting this step is way more hassle-free when you use board meeting software than sending paper copies. It eliminates the need to reprint the papers in case of an error as you can simply update the documents in the cloud.
2. Call Roll
The second step of conducting an effective committee meeting is calling roll. Here, it’s all about calling out a list of the names of the committee members to establish who’s present.
Here are a few roll call best practices you should consider implementing in your next meeting:
- Ensure you know each person’s name. You don’t necessarily have to memorize their full names, but knowing their last name is a good start.
- Don’t be repetitive. As long as you’re audible enough, there’s no need to repeat a member’s name more than twice.
- Provide an interactive roll call environment. For example, you could ask each attendee to raise their hand when called upon. Or you could have someone count off from 1 to 10, starting with the person who was most recently added to the roster.
3. Approve Agenda and Previous Meeting Minutes
After you’ve called the roll, you’ll want to move on to approving the agenda and reviewing previous meeting minutes. Here are some things to keep in mind while doing so:
- Approve the agenda. The agenda is a document that lists the topics you’d like to address during the meeting. It also includes any actions that were taken during the previous meeting.
- Review the previous minutes. Reviewing the minutes is another vital part of the meeting process. They contain information such as the dates and times of past meetings, the number of people in attendance, and what decisions were made.
4. Review Committee Report
Once you’ve reviewed the agenda and previous minutes, you’ll want to check the committee reports. These are documents that summarize the work done by the committees over a specific period.
Using board meeting software, you can easily access these reports through the “Reports” tab. Otherwise, you may have to print them out. Either way, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your reports:
- Ensure you read every report thoroughly. Make notes if something stands out or seems particularly interesting.
- If possible, share the reports with other members of the committee. This helps ensure the reports are accurate and complete.
5. Review Old and New Business
Finally, after reviewing the committee reports, you’ll want to go back to the plan and check old business. This is where you’ll discuss items that didn’t make it into the agenda because they weren’t deemed necessary for the current meeting.
You might also want to add new business to the agenda. If you do decide to add new business to your meeting, you’ll want to follow these steps:
- Identify the purpose of the new business. Why does this matter? What problem will it solve?
- Establish whether the new business is urgent or not. Urgent means it needs to be addressed immediately. Non-urgent means it can wait until later.
- Review the new business. Does it fit within the scope of the meeting? Is it relevant to the overall mission of the organization?
6. Adjourn the Meeting
After deliberating on everything outlined on the day’s agenda, it’s time to adjourn the meeting with the next steps. The goal is to ensure that you move your committee members closer to your organization’s critical objectives at the end of each meeting. Here are a few things to keep in mind when adjourning the meeting:
- Thank everyone for participating to show respect and appreciation for their time.
- Ask if there’s additional business to discuss. If there’s unfinished business, you can choose to deviate from the agenda and discuss the issue immediately or mention that it will be prioritized on the next meeting’s agenda.
- Declare the meeting adjourned. You can either say so verbally or write it down on the agenda.
Software Improves Committee Meeting Outcomes
As we hinted earlier, board committee governance software eliminates various hassles associated with running an effective committee meeting. Here are a few ways software can improve committee meeting outcomes:
- It streamlines the entire process, making it easier than ever before
- You can use the software to create agendas, track attendance, manage minutes, and automatically send out reminders about upcoming meetings
- You can save money by eliminating paper copies of all the materials used during the meeting
OnBoard Powers Effective Committee Meetings
OnBoard is a one-of-a-kind board management solution tailor-made to help organizations like yours conduct effective and productive meetings. Our software includes comprehensive features explicitly designed to support your board committees. These features include:
- Agenda Builder: Create agendas using our intuitive interface, which allows you to quickly drag and drop items onto the agenda.
- Task Management: Manage tasks assigned to committee members, allowing them to view who’s working on what.
- Zoom Integration: Use OnBoard’s Zoom integration to connect with other users remotely via video chat.
- Meeting Analytics: See anonymized and aggregated real-time insights into committee performance.
Other key OnBoard features and capabilities include advanced search, skills tracking, board assessment, secure messenger, D&O questionnaire, and more.
But that’s not even the best part; when you decide to try OnBoard, you get a free Board Meeting Agenda Template to kickstart your journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Different Types of Committee Meetings?
There exist various types of committee meetings. But the most common ones include the steering committee, executive committee, and operating committee meetings.
What’s the Difference Between a Board and Committee Meeting?
A board meeting involves discussing strategic issues facing the company as a whole. A committee meeting typically focuses on specific projects and initiatives within the company or board.
Who Sets the Agenda for a Committee Meeting?
The chairperson sets the agenda for the meeting. The chairperson may also invite additional people to join the meeting.
About The Author
- Tim Vire is a senior manager of customer success at OnBoard. "My role places me in working relationship with every other team in the company," Tim says. "I enjoy that broad scope of the business." A Faith Bible College graduate, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and grandson, collecting vinyl records, and listening to music. He lives in Pendleton, Indiana.
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