Ticket Banquet Table News Cameras University After 1 Flowers
Portable toilets Brick Path Chellos Columns Girls Registration 2 Girls Registration
cards Event Tent 2 Graduation Diploma Beautiful Chickens İMorgan Loven Table Setting Mannequins1 İMorgan Loven

Special Events: Planning for Success

Board Meetings

Orchestrate a First Class Board Meeting
Board of trustees meetings are occasions that demand organization, accuracy, and extra attention to detail. Every phase of the meeting and accompanying social activities must be orchestrated with the utmost care. In the non-profit sector where directors are not usually compensated, a professionally presented meeting is a subtle way of communicating respect for their time. A successful board meeting begins with careful planning weeks ahead of time.

  • Announce board meeting dates and locations as far in advance as possible. If dates are known for the entire year, send an announcement at the beginning of the academic year and reminders about five weeks before each session.
  • Plan an agenda for each meeting that allows time to thoroughly examine each topic, but that makes productive use of members' time.
  • About one week ahead of the meeting, each board member should receive an e-mail or packet containing the agenda, all pertinent reports (especially financial information), and the minutes of the preceding meeting and of committee meetings that have taken place in the interim.
  • Include a cover letter highlighting any pressing issues and stating the meeting time and place. Provide an overview of other activities to assist members in planning travel itineraries and selecting appropriate attire. Include a travel arrangements form that can be e-mailed back to you indicating arrival times and transportation needs.  
  • When new board members are added, plan an orientation and briefing before their first meeting to update them on campus life. Include a tour, a briefing on important issues and financial information, and the opportunity to meet the president. Make a point of introducing new trustees to everyone on the board and to all ranking staff members before the meeting begins. New members' photos and biographies should be in board notebooks and published on a web site and in the alumni magazine. The first meeting that includes new board members is an excellent time to have a professional photographer take an annual group photo.

The Meeting Leader's Duties

  • Start on time.
  • Ask people to silence cell phones. 
  • Stick to the agenda
  • Allow discussion, but maintain control of the meeting.
  • Determine action to be taken on each item and assign a person to be responsible. Summarize.

Be Ready On-Site

  • Several weeks ahead, inspect the board room to be certain it is in tiptop condition. Check if the carpet or chair upholstery needs to be cleaned, if paint needs to be touched-up, or light bulbs need replaced. Test all permanent equipment to see if it is in working condition. Inspect A/V equipment for burned out or dim bulbs, dead batteries or missing parts (especially computer connection cables and remote controls). Check Wi-Fi.      
  • Reserve the board room for several days prior to the meeting to accommodate impromptu pre-board committee meetings and to ensure that it is clean and fresh for the big day.
  • Order coffee break and beverage services using china, not paper products. Request amenities like real cream presented in an attractive pitcher, loose sugar in a bowl, and require fresh lemon slices for tea. Use flatware, not plastic spoons or stir sticks. Breakfast pastries, muffins, and bagels should be attractively arranged on platters or in baskets. Never serve from the bakery box. Coffee and other beverage services should be presented on an attractively draped table with fresh flowers or other centerpiece. Keep the coffee fresh, the urn full, and the break area tidy. Consider having the break area set up outside of the meeting room. It is easier and quieter to service and cuts down on the distraction of people getting up for refreshments while the meeting is in progress.      
  • Work with campus security to ensure that parking places reserved for board members are available, that security knows what parking credentials the directors will have, and where they are eligible to park. If someone is ticketed, discreetly retrieve the ticket and settle it with the university. Tell board members where to park.
  • Plan the board room table seating arrangement and make name cards for everyone who will be at the table. Using name cards on the table is a gracious way of letting people know where to sit and facilitates the use of names during discussions. If reporters attend board meetings, name cards help them accurately identify speakers.  (People who are spectating the meeting from the room's perimeter do not need name cards.) While there is no standard name card size, cards should be large enough to be read from across the table, but not so large that they and look ungainly. Use a stiff stock that will stand up on its own when folded, preferably white. Letter in black for readability.      
  • Place the gavel at the chairperson's seat.
  • Place a pen, pencil, and notepad at each place.
  • Ready a backup supply of the pre-meeting materials in case someone forgot to bring their copies. Place additional reports and other documents at each seat in an attractive folder.
  • While trustees are out of the room for breaks, lunch, or other activities, have litter and dirty cups removed, trash cans emptied, vacuum if necessary, and push the chairs to the table so that the room always looks fresh. Never disturb personal items or straighten a member's papers. Assign security to guard the room while the trustees are gone.

After the Meeting

  • Issue minutes promptly. Include the dates for the next meeting.
  • Follow up on action items and summarize assignments for each trustee.
  • Process travel expense and reimbursement requests.
  • Thank those who helped make the meeting
    a success, especially catering and other vendors, campus security, and office support staff.