How to Prepare for a Board Meeting (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • July 1, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

With proper preparation, board meetings are one of an organization’s most powerful tools for corporate governance and decision-making. They provide a structured environment for discussing important issues, strategizing for the future, and ensuring all board members are aligned with the organization’s goals.

Whether you’re a seasoned board member or a newcomer, understanding the steps to prepare for a board meeting is crucial. Learn how to effectively prepare for board meetings in the guide below. 

What is a Board Meeting?

A board meeting is a formal gathering of an organization’s board of directors that provides an opportunity for the board to:

  • Review the business performance of the company
  • Discuss potential policy issues or changes
  • Perform legal and ethical oversight over the organization

Board meetings are vital for governance, strategic planning, and ensuring the organization’s goals are met.

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How to Prepare for a Board Meeting

Prepare for a board meeting with the following steps. 

1. Set the Board Meeting Agenda

When preparing for a board meeting, ask 2 fundamental questions: 

  1. Why is this meeting taking place? 
  2. What do you want to accomplish? 

The first step to detailing these answers is to create a board meeting agenda. An agenda is a document that serves as a roadmap for the meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed, the goals of the meeting, and the time allocated for each item. This helps ensure the meeting stays focused and productive.

Before finalizing the agenda, a draft should be sent to the board chair or other senior executives for review. Make any final edits before distributing the agenda to board members. 

2. Gather and Distribute Board Meeting Materials

Next, gather any materials that are relevant to the proposed topics on the agenda. These materials can help board members formulate their opinions and be used as reference material during conversations. This may include previous meeting minutes, board correspondence, and background information.  

Assemble all meeting materials into a board pack, and send them to board members  at least a couple of weeks before the meeting.

3. Confirm Board Meeting Logistics

Finally, confirm all board meeting logistics, including booking the venue.  Ensure the meeting location is accessible, and all technical components, such as projectors, microphones, and video conferencing tools, are functioning properly. This attention to detail will help create a professional and uninterrupted meeting environment.

4. Coordinate With Board Meeting Participants

With the meeting venue booked, send any required direction to board meeting participants. If the meeting location is in an unfamiliar place, provide attendees with directions to get there on time. 

If the meeting is being held online, send a link to each board member to make accessing the meeting simple. Lastly, contact any directors or officials who have not confirmed their attendance and learn if they are planning to attend. 

5. Review and Finalize Board Meeting Details

The last step is to finalize the agenda and other details before the meeting takes place. Reread the agenda to ensure it covers all necessary topics and is easy to follow. Confirm all materials are ready, logistics are in place, and participants are informed and prepared.

Unlock the Power of Board Management Software

Conducting a board meeting requires directors to prepare better, organize at a higher level, and engage more collaboratively. Using board management software streamlines efficient meeting preparation for your board administrators. With everything stored in one place, your staffers can easily find and compile the information they need or direct board members on where to find it.

Purpose-built for board business, OnBoard’s board portal platform offers the following features

  • Drag-and-drop agenda builder that enables board directors to collaborate on board packs
  • Board meeting minutes builder that allows administrators to take notes effectively and mark motions as the meeting progresses
  • Meeting briefs that alert board members to upcoming meetings and provide direction on effective preparation

Ultimately, OnBoard empowers boards to work smarter, move faster, and achieve more for the organizations they govern.

Download OnBoard’s free board meeting minutes template to learn how the most effective boards record meetings.

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About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.