How to Create a Successful Board Meeting Agenda

The effectiveness of a meeting is worked upstream with the drafting of a neat agenda. Otherwise, everyone comes out frustrated, annoyed, even disappointed to have lost so much time for not much in the end.

Also, when we talk about meetings, productivity rhymes with an agenda prepared, thought out, written and shared beforehand! This, in order to avoid the too frequent syndrome of acute sterile meetingitis…

What is an Agenda?

Overall, this tool is an invitation to participate in a meeting with other people carefully named and presented, in a place, at a specific date and time, on a specific theme, all accompanied by a brief program of celebrations.

Too often underestimated, an effective and well-articulated agenda is the key to a successful meeting. It defines a framework for the discussions, prepares everyone for what is going to be said and outlines the objectives expected at the end of the meeting. Furthermore, the participants become aware of the value of their presence, thus giving even more meaning to their mission.

Why Build a Meeting Schedule?

Building and writing an agenda that you will send, once finalized, to all the participants of the planned meeting, allows you to convey the message that the said meeting will indeed be productive. You do not invite all these people for the pleasure of seeing them or for banal discussions as time-consuming as they are sterile.

While it is generally perceived as a simple plan detailing the topics to be discussed, a well-articulated agenda is much more than that. Among the major advantages of such a tool, the following points can be highlighted in particular:

 

    • it allows participants to determine whether or not their presence is a real necessity (technical information that does not justify the presence of its author can, for example, be sent upstream by email to all participants). This avoids a feeling – more or less justified – of a real waste of time for some;
    • it offers everyone the opportunity to properly prepare for the meeting, in particular any interventions and/or questions. Everyone comes knowingly and has the assurance of coming out having made progress on the subject/project;
    • it frames the course of the meeting, both in terms of form and substance, thus avoiding excesses, off topic, etc.;
    • it is a major support for the facilitator in his role as conductor;
    • it is an excellent barometer as to whether or not the meeting was successful in terms of efficiency and productivity.

How to Build a Meeting Agenda?

Concretely, like any document, the agenda that you are going to share with your collaborators must be clear, precise, succinct, but also sufficiently attractive to be read! Here are some tips for making it:

 

      • give a title to your agenda: from the outset, the guests will know what it will be about;
      • specify the type of meeting: Board of Directors, Ordinary Assembly, Management meeting, monthly service meeting, etc.;
      • write down precisely the overall objective of the meeting so that everyone is going in the same and right direction;
      • specify the place as well as the exact date and time (start AND end time) of the meeting;
      • briefly introduce the participants: who (colleagues, suppliers, lawyers, etc.), why (function and role of each during this meeting).

List chronologically all the items that will be covered during this interview, with, for each, the time allotted to it. Beforehand, you will of course have warned each speaker and will have asked him for the time he considers necessary for the presentation of his subject. It is not a question here of detailing each element, but of defining it very succinctly.

      • define the objective of each point discussed;
      • set up a few breaks which can also be used in the event of longer debates than initially planned – within reason;
      • plan extra time at the end of the meeting for any questions and/or the organization of a future interview;
      • make sure that the speakers validate your agenda and that they have no other subjects to discuss during this meeting;
      • proofread and/or have your agenda proofread and send it at the appropriate time (at least 1 week before the meeting – be careful, some very formal meetings require a legal deadline as well as a specific convening procedure);
      • stick to your schedule on D-Day.

In the event of a last-minute meeting – it sometimes happens, once all the participants are gathered, go around the table so that everyone quickly presents the subject they have to discuss and determine the end time of your interview in order to frame the things from the start. Take notes and send a report to all the participants so that everyone can keep track of what was said during this meeting.

 

Safe Board Meetings in the Office and From Home

Regular board meetings are an important part of building and maintaining a successful business. The company’s board of directors plays an important role in determining the corporate agenda. Set priorities, set goals, and review investment strategies in close collaboration with management teams. Therefore, organizational security must be guaranteed to all involved, regardless of whether they work in the office or at home.

Board Meetings in the Office and at Home

Due to the pandemic, councils have had to balance the unconsciousness of the transition to virtual. The move to virtual council meetings has enabled councils to improve their governance and collaboration by having shorter agendas, bolder conversations, and greater familiarity with leaders and experts. All of this comes with the pressure to protect your organizations from intrusion and disasters, which also affects your company’s image. And even though offices are reopening, many employees are still staying at home due to office or quarantine staff restrictions.

Hold Safe Board Meetings

The pandemic shock has brought important strategic decisions to the table, sometimes without the luxury of face-to-face meetings. Security and reliability are key when it comes to board meetings. You will benefit in the long term from the right consulting management software.

According to CBS, 28 hacking incidents per 100,000 civilians were recorded in the Netherlands in 2019. And while hacking incidents cause financial problems, they also damage your company’s image, which is difficult to restore. With secure software, your employees can rely on secure meetings and document exchange.

Few Steps to Secure Your Virtual Meetings

Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself and your work environment and secure your team’s meetings across platforms.

Do Not Publish Meetings

For many virtual meeting platforms, the default option is publicly available, which means that attackers can access it from outside the organization. The FBI encourages people who use video conferencing technology to keep their meetings private by providing direct links to guests and not sharing those links on social media platforms.There are a lot of virtual meeting platforms, where users can make their meetings private by requiring them to enter a meeting password or manually receive guests during the connection.

 

Make Sure You Have the Latest Software

Outdated video conferencing software can be particularly vulnerable to hacking. Use similar wording in the meeting invitation and encourage staff to ensure all virtual meeting platforms are fully updated, using all available patches and the latest pre-meeting builds.

Connect to a secure, password-protected Wi-Fi network

Over 90% of all data breaches start with unauthorized access to corporate data. CISA warns users that the default home Wi-Fi settings are unprotected, which means attackers could gain access to sensitive company data if these default settings are not changed. CISA recommends users change the router’s default passwords, choose a common home Wi-Fi network name for easier identification, and ensure the home router is configured to use WPA2 wireless encryption or WPA3.

Establish a Strong Company Policy

As a first line of defense in protecting the privacy of their data, organizations must maintain appropriate security controls to protect their network infrastructure and endpoints from cybercriminals. It is recommended that policies be implemented that require appropriate staff training, as well as policies on password security and protection, two-factor authentication, and regular patches. Organizations should also include instructions and resources to report violations.

Manage and accurately monitor file and screen sharing

Determine beforehand how and what information will be shared during the meeting. CISA recommends disabling or limiting screen and file sharing during virtual meetings and encourages users to share individual programs rather than entire screens. Individuals can also consider the sensitivity of screens with private information being transmitted or uploaded during a virtual meeting, knowing that information disseminated through insecure channels can be compromised.

As companies adapt their workforce and transition to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, they must continue to take the lead when it comes to tackling new distractions. Remote work will still be prevalent even after the pandemic is over, so steps must be taken to ensure the safety of virtual face-to-face interactions and collaborations and work towards the ultimate goal of a safe virtual workplace.

 

Basic Nonprofit Board Voting Procedures

The implementation of the current activities of non-profit organizations involves the adoption and proper execution of decisions of their governing bodies. Unfortunately, members of the governing bodies do not always know (and follow) the procedure for making and formalizing decisions, which can lead both to claims from the controlling state bodies and to negative legally significant consequences, up to the recognition of such a decision as voidable or null and void. You can protect yourself from this by observing the rules for convening and formalizing a meeting of collegiate bodies of a non-profit organization. The main provisions regarding the procedure for convening a collegial management body and making a decision by one or another body are enshrined in law, and are also specified directly in the charter of each organization. Thus, a decision of a collegial governing body (for example, the General Meeting of Members, the Presidium, the Council, the Board, etc.) of a non-profit organization is considered adopted if the majority of the members of this body present at the meeting voted for it; at the same time, at least fifty percent of the total number of members of this body must participate in the meeting. It should be noted that decisions on issues of the exclusive competence of the supreme management body of the organization are taken by a qualified majority of votes (2/3 or 3/4 of the total number of those present at the meeting), or unanimously (depending on how it is written in the charter). The issues of the exclusive competence of the supreme governing body of a non-profit organization include, in particular, the approval and amendment of the organization’s charter, the determination of priority areas of the organization’s activities, the principles for the formation and use of its property, the adoption of decisions on the reorganization and liquidation of the organization, on the appointment of a liquidation commission and on approval of the liquidation balance sheet and others. Also, the decision of the meeting can be made by absentee voting, however, it must be remembered that on issues of the exclusive competence of the supreme governing body, decisions are made only in person.

The Voting Procedure

The voting procedure is determined by the charter of the NPO. The possibility of conducting absentee voting should be expressly provided for by the charter. At the same time, the charter includes the following provisions: − obligatory communication to all founders (participants, members) of a non-profit organization or members of the collegiate supreme governing body of a non-profit organization of the proposed agenda;

− the opportunity to familiarize all founders (participants, members) of an organization or members of the collegiate supreme governing body of the organization with all the necessary information and materials before voting begins;

− the opportunity to make proposals for the inclusion of additional issues on the agenda;

− the obligation to inform all founders (participants, members) of a non-profit organization or members of the collegiate supreme governing body of a non-profit organization prior to the start of voting of the amended agenda, as well as the end date for the voting procedure. It is also important to establish deadlines for sending the above messages (and corresponding responses to them) in order to regulate the preparation and conduct of the meeting.

Protocols: What Must Be Included

All decisions of the collegiate governing bodies of a non-profit organization are documented in written protocols. The minutes are signed by the chairman and secretary of the meeting. The protocol on the results of in-person voting must contain the following data:

1) the date, time and place of the meeting;

2) information about the persons who took part in the meeting;

3) results of voting on each agenda item;

4) information about the persons who conducted the counting of votes;

5) information about the persons who voted against the decision of the meeting and demanded to make an entry about it in the minutes.

The protocol on the results of absentee voting must indicate:

1) the date until which the documents containing information on the voting of the supreme management body of the non-profit organization were accepted;

2) information about the persons who took part in the voting;

3) results of voting on each agenda item;

4) information about the persons who conducted the counting of votes;

5) information about the persons who signed the protocol.

We hope that this article helped you understand the voting system in a non-profit organization. After all, voting is the key to making a whole series of correct and meaningful decisions. The future of the organization depends on decisions.