Evaluate Your Board Meetings

So if we agree that running effective, meaningful and engaging board meetings is one of the essential duties of the board chair, doesn’t it make sense that you should find some way to evaluate whether or not they really are effective, meaningful, engaging? After all, if you go to a conference or a workshop you can be certain you’ll be asked to fill-out an evaluation form. Why not do the same at the end of every board meeting?

“At the end of every board meeting? You must be kidding!” If this sounds a little over the top, it doesn’t have to be. Make it easy.

On a single piece of paper that is waiting at each board member’s seat when he or she arrives, ask them to respond to the following statements (on a numeric 1-5 scale indicating their level of agreement):

• The materials mailed in advance provided me with sufficient preparation for the meeting

• I had adequate opportunities to discuss the issues presented today and ask questions

• Today’s agenda items were appropriate for board discussion

• I feel as if today’s meeting was a good use of my time

Then prompt them with some open-ended questions that allow you to gather additional helpful information:

• Please note if you would like additional information or follow-up regarding any of the topics discussed today

• Please recommend any agenda topics for future meetings

• Other comments or suggestions?

You might also consider looking for some topic feedback too. So, if you are talking about a new marketing strategy, for example, you might have them respond to the statement, “I feel like I have sufficient knowledge about our marketing strategy.” You may learn that you hit a homerun with the presentation to them, or you could learn that you need to revisit it at a future meeting. In either case, you won’t know unless you ask.

I know from personal experience as both a former chief executive and as a board chair that this works. It takes board members just a few seconds to give you some immediate feedback about what went well, what didn’t, and what they would like next time. It’s exactly the kind of information you can use to develop and lead better and better meetings. Give it a try.

For more board governance advice, contact Jeff Wahlstrom at (207) 992-4407 or [email protected]