How to Write a Board Meeting Agenda (+ Free Template)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • June 26, 2024
Board Meeting Agenda Template
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When an organization’s board of directors convenes for a board meeting, they have many topics to discuss and tasks to attend to. As each attending board member weighs in on the current state of active projects, proposed resolutions, and votes, it can be easy for a meeting to get bogged down in unproductive conversations. 

Organization and a good host are needed to keep a board meeting focused, and one of the best tools to keep everyone on the same page is a board meeting agenda. Read on to learn how to prepare for a board meeting with a detailed board meeting agenda. 

What is a Board Meeting Agenda?

A board meeting agenda is a vital document that outlines the various topics to be discussed during a board meeting. It serves as an organized and efficient blueprint for the meeting. 

The agenda provides a list of meeting topics in chronological order, starting with the call to order from the host and concluding with an adjournment. They inform all attendees of important meeting details such as the date, time, and setting of the meeting. 

An agenda is one of several documents you will find inside a board pack, a collection of reports and documents each board member receives for a meeting. 

Board Meeting

Ensure effective, efficient meetings with our comprehensive Board Meeting Agenda Template.

Elements of an Effective Board Meeting Agenda

The particulars of a board meeting agenda vary depending on the needs and workflows of each organization, but most effective agendas feature the following elements:

  • Agenda header: Includes basic information like the name of the company, the convening body, and the date, time, and location of the meeting.
  • Meeting objective: States the purpose of the meeting and its desired outcome.
  • Agenda body: Details items to be covered during the meeting, including review of previous board meeting minutes, discussion of old business and new business, director and committee reports regarding current projects, making a motion to vote on certain matters, and comments.
  • Post-meeting action items: Space to list any tasks or follow-up actions that need to be completed after the meeting, along with the responsible parties and deadlines.

How to Write a Board Meeting Agenda

A well-written board meeting agenda guides a productive board meeting. Here are some tips on how to best write an agenda:

1. Assign Agenda Owner

The first step to preparing a board meeting is to specify a designated individual who will be responsible for the meeting agenda. This person should be well-versed on the organization’s goals, current priorities, and what the company requires from corporate governance.

2. Review Past Meetings

Studying the past helps you make better decisions in the future. The process of writing a new meeting agenda should begin with reviewing the previous agenda and minutes. This helps create continuity between meetings and ensures that follow-up items or unresolved business ventures will be featured in the next agenda.

3. Gather Input

Previous meeting agendas aren’t the only resource one should use to develop an agenda. Ask for input from the board chair, CEO, or other meeting attendees to learn if they have any other items they would like to be included. This helps you cover important topics more completely and gives other parties a feeling of ownership over the meeting. You can also ask them about their previous experiences in meetings to find ways to conduct better discussions during the meeting. 

4. Prioritize Agenda Items

Armed with a greater understanding of what other meeting attendees want to accomplish during this meeting, you can then prioritize the agenda items with the most importance to the business. Items should be prioritized based on their relevance, urgency, and alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. Consult with the board chair or other senior management officials to confirm the correct items are given prominence. 

5. Finalize and Distribute Agenda

Now is the time to finalize the board meeting agenda. Reread the document to confirm its contents are clearly explained and easy to follow. Remember to include any supporting material that will add greater context to each item and the ensuing conversations. The agenda should then be reviewed by the board chair or executive director before being sent out to other board members.

Send the agenda in advance of the meeting, so recipients have time to review it and arrive prepared. Encourage others to suggest any additions or edits if needed. While being flexible enough to make adjustments to the agenda is a beneficial trait, prospective items that are more focused on the future should be discussed as a part of “new business” at the end of the meeting or held back for a future meeting.

Unlock the Power of Board Management Software

A well-structured board meeting agenda is crucial for effective and efficient board meetings. Board management software like OnBoard can significantly enhance this process by providing templates, tools, and features that streamline agenda creation and distribution.

With intuitive features such as secure document sharing, real-time collaboration, and automated reminders, OnBoard ensures board meetings are productive and well-organized.

Once you master the agenda, download our free Board Meeting Minutes template to see how the best boards structure their minutes. 

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Ready to level up your board meetings?  Start a free trial of OnBoard today.

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.