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Leading Effective Board Meetings

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Based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition)


  • Why have meeting?
    (decision-making, problem-solving, planning, evaluation)
  • What are desired outcomes?
  • Who is responsible for each item?
  • Confirm environment and equipment
  • Room arrangement
    • To give information --> Auditorium style
    • To get participation --> Circle
    • Combination --> Horseshoe
  • Prepare Agenda
    • Considerations
      • All items relate to mandate?
      • Are items for action?
      • Agenda clear?
      • Location on agenda?
  • Specifics
    • Start and end time for meeting
    • Start and end time for each item?
    • Require business items (motions) be submitted in advance
    • Assign tasks
  • Distribute meeting packet
  • Distribute agenda in advance
  • Ensure everyone on agenda knows role


  • Call to order on time
  • Stay focused using agenda
  • Focus on substance, not form
  • End meeting/each item on time
  • Use unanimous consent, when possible
  • Use consent agenda, if possible
  • Encourage participation/equalize participation
    • Prompt comments, if necessary
  • Control interruptions and digressions
    • “Park” digressions
    • “Deflate windbags”
    • Clarify and rephrase
  • Manage conflict
  • Ensure decisions/assignments clear
  • More formal procedure if larger group (12+)
  • More formal procedure depending on controversy/importance
  • Close the meeting on time
  • Close the meeting positively


  • Rambling member (“park digressions”)
  • Dominating member (“deflate windbags”)
  • Argumentative member
  • Discouraging member
  • Argument between two members
  • Side conversations
  • Non-participating member

Charts and articles are intended to provide general information on parliamentary procedure and are not legal advice or a legal opinion.