How to Open a Board Meeting

If your board is comprised of elected members, or is a non-profit organization or similar public entity, there may be laws in place that require an open meeting. These laws, also referred to as Sunshine Laws or Open Meetings Acts, require that board business be conducted in public. The laws also allow non-members the right of attendance and, in certain instances they are allowed to comment.

When the board is set to begin the person who presided at the last meeting will “call the meeting to begin”. This typically involves saying”I call this meeting to order’ or similar in a commanding voice. In the majority of cases the next step is two taps on the gavel to indicate that the meeting has officially started.

Be sure to have a clear agenda prior to when the meeting begins. The agenda should be centered and clearly outline the main topics that the board has to consider, as well as the key decisions they must make. Avoid putting too many subjects on the agenda, or using an agenda from a previous meeting.

Sidetracking your board with new topics of discussion can consume valuable time and distract people from the things you have on your agenda. You might want to consider adding a parking space at the end of your meeting agenda. This is where you can add topics that aren’t considered to be high priority. You can pledge to revisit these later or to include them in the next meeting.

Ask for feedback from your board on how the meetings have been going and what you can improve them. This will ensure that your board members are more invested in the outcome and engaged.

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