An effective board meeting facilitates decision-making and helps a company grow.
Naturally, for a meeting to be successful and productive, everything has to be well planned. And this is how a script for a board meeting can help.
If you need a how to chair a board meeting script, continue reading the article. You’ll learn how a board meeting script can improve the effectiveness of board meetings, how to write one, and how it’s realized in pre-, during-, and post-meeting phases. Additionally, receive a board meeting script sample to get inspired when creating one for your organization.
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Why is a board of directors meeting script important?
A meeting that doesn’t have a clear purpose and well-thought-out discussion steps can turn chaotic when everyone is speaking, but none gives practical value.
That’s exactly why special “controlling and planning” instruments were created. Board chairs can now run a meeting using Robert’s Rules of Order or follow the steps mentioned in the board meeting agenda to get the most out of a meeting.
However, for various reasons, such as being nervous or overwhelmed with duties, a chair can lose track of time or forget to mention particular points. That’s when a script for running a board meeting can help.
A board of directors meeting script is basically “a scenario” of a board meeting. It’s like a script for a play but for a board meeting. When writing a script, each meeting’s phase is followed by concrete phrases to say or action items to perform so that the meeting goes smoothly.
Note: Creating a so-called script that helps to oversee all the possible issues that can appear on the way is also one of the board succession planning best practices.
How to start a board meeting script in 5 steps?
The process of creating a chairman script for a board meeting starts long before the meeting itself. Below are the five main steps to follow to start writing a board meeting script.
1. Pay special attention to meeting preparation
Before creating a script for a board meeting, think about what has to be done before the meeting to ensure its effectiveness. Think about preparing a board pack and meeting agenda and sending them to board members for familiarization, and make sure they’re reflected in your future script.
2. Gather all the necessary information for the meeting
To make the meeting flow smoother, you should know beforehand what you’ll talk about and what materials are needed. Additionally, you should know your audience so that you choose the right communication style. This is another reason why it’s important to know which board members are attending the meeting.
3. Determine the structure and format of the script
A script has to be in a form that’s easy to follow for the chairperson. A script can be in print or prepared virtually with the help of software for board management. Such board portals offer various board management tools and ready-to-use templates of all essential board documents, such as a board meeting agenda template.
4. Identify the key items to cover in the script
Before creating a script, you should also know what items will be covered. It means clearly understanding the meeting’s agenda and how to follow its stages. The items to cover usually depend on the meeting type and company size. For example, the script for a small non-profit board will be more concise.
5. Prepare a fully-covered meeting scenario
After noting the data about the meeting’s purposes and expectations, you can start drafting a script. Typically, it should include not only the steps to take but also the words you’re going to say at each stage of the meeting.
Key components of a board meeting script
Chairing the board meeting script usually includes and is based on the following components:
- Agenda. This is the basis you should rely on when preparing a script. The agenda gives you a clear understanding of the stages to cover during a meeting.
- Discussion topics. Having a list of mandatory discussion topics makes it easier to ensure they won’t get missed.
- Action items. Action items ensure the effectiveness of the board meetings since they oblige concrete board members to perform concrete actions. Having those action items clearly stated in the script helps to ensure their execution or at least emphasize their importance.
- Robert’s Rules of Order. Creating a script based on Robert’s Rules of Order agenda helps to ensure structure during the meeting and helps the chairman control that board members mind them.
Tips for writing a board meeting script
When drafting a sample script of a board meeting, remember the following:
- Mind board members’ communication styles. You should think of ways to conduct the meeting and keep everyone active, considering the diversity of the board.
- Don’t surprise board members. Before a meeting, all board members should have received a copy of the meeting agenda so that they know the top discussion items. This helps to ensure that each board member is well-prepared for the discussion.
- Make sure to involve all board members in communication. An effective board chair gives every board member an opportunity to express their opinion and be heard or encourages communication if someone isn’t eager to take part in a discussion.
- Consider a sample board meeting script. If you’re creating a script for the first time, you might opt for a sample script of mock. You can check out a board meeting script example here and use it for inspiration, or rely on ready-to-use templates that some board portal software for online meetings for board provide. Additionally, you can create a basic Robert’s Rules of Order cheat sheet, which will also help you to conduct meetings more effectively.
Qualities and responsibilities of a chairperson
A board chair should have a certain set of qualities to be able to perform their responsibilities.
A list of a chairperson’s key responsibilities and qualities for conducting effective board meetings is highlighted below.
What are the responsibilities of a chairperson?
The main chair’s responsibility is to guide board members and make sure everyone follows board meeting procedures. The full list of the general chairperson’s responsibilities looks similar to the following:
- Act as the organization’s representative. It implies presenting the organization’s mission and goals to outside parties.
- Run general and board meetings. A chairperson is responsible for running board meetings and ensuring all the procedures and rules are followed.
- Ensure effective communication. A board chair should make sure everyone is actively engaged in the communication and is interested in reaching the company’s goals.
- Manage the composition and structure of a board. A chairperson is responsible for regularly reviewing the size of the board and its diversity and adjusting it when needed.
What qualities should a chairperson have?
The effective board chair should:
- Know the business well
- Know how to establish effective communication
- Be objective
- Practice restraint
- Be assertive
Best practices of running a board meeting script: 12 steps to include
A successful board meeting script not only embraces the meeting itself but also covers the preparation and post-meeting phases. Below are the steps a board meeting script can include — we’ve divided them into those that are to be done before, during, and after the meeting.
|Before a meeting||– Craft the agenda|
– Create the board pack
– Distribute pre-meeting materials
|During a meeting||– Start a meeting properly|
– Recognize a quorum
– Call the meeting to order
– Approve agenda and minutes
– Encourage communication and reports
– Discuss old and new business
– Closing the meeting
|After a meeting||– Distribute minutes and follow-up materials|
– Cooperate with the corporate secretary on the next meeting’s agenda
Now, let’s quickly review what each of the stages presupposes.
1. Craft the agenda
The agenda is a meeting plan. It includes the discussion items and gives a chairperson an understanding of how to structure the meeting script.
2. Create the board pack
The board pack, or board book, includes documentation that should be reviewed prior to the meeting. It aims to provide board members with an insight into the meeting’s main topics and prepare them for discussion. By preparing a board pack, a chairperson ensures that the board directors’ focus will be on the right issues.
3. Distribute pre-meeting materials
Now, it’s time to distribute all the board books to board members so they’ll have time to review them and prepare to discuss them during the meeting.
4. Start a meeting properly
Opening board meeting script usually means addressing issues of personal or perfunctory nature, such as thanking retiring members and welcoming visitors and other members.
|“We want to thank [members’ names] for being present at/making a contribution to this [organization’s name] board meeting.”|
5. Recognize a quorum
The next step is to perform a roll call to make sure a quorum is present for voting.
|“The quorum to take vote is/isn’t present.”|
6. Call the meeting to order
After making sure that a quorum is present, the chair calls a meeting to order.
|“The meeting of board directors of [company’s name] is called to order at [time and date].”|
7. Approve agenda and minutes
The next step is to approve the agenda for further discussion and meeting minutes from the previous meeting. Board members receive them with a board pack prior to the meeting. This is the moment when board members can suggest certain amendments to the agenda if they have any. If so, the proposed amendments are usually approved without voting.
|“The agenda and minutes were distributed in your board packs. Do you have any amendments to them?” |
“The minutes stand approved.” — if there are no amendments.
“Are there any objections to making the suggested correction? The agenda runs as corrected.” — if there are certain amendments.
8. Encourage communication and reports
When the agenda and minutes are agreed upon, it’s time for the speaker addressing the attendees to give the floor to the CEO or executive director, treasurer’s reports, and committee reports.
|“[Name of the executive officer], Executive Director, will now present his/her report.”|
“Now, the treasurer, [treasuer’s name] will have his/her report.”
“It’s time for [name of director] to present his/her [committee name] report.”
9. Discuss old and new business
The next step is to go over the items that were previously discussed but remain unresolved and are ready for formal approval.
|“Is there any old business?” |
“We have a motion postponed to this meeting. Let’s take a vote.”
After this, the board starts discussing new business.
|“The new business is now in order. Is there any business?”|
10. Closing the meeting
After discussing all agenda issues, the chair adjourns the meeting.
|“If there are no objections (pause) and no further business to discuss (pause), the meeting is then adjourned.”|
11. Distribute minutes and follow-up materials
As a part of the post-meeting stage, a chairperson should distribute post-meeting materials with action points for each board member to perform. This significantly facilitates decision-making.
12. Cooperate with the corporate secretary on the next meeting’s agenda
The last step is to work on the meeting notes and agenda items for the next meeting. This will typically include any unfinished business from the previous meeting that requires discussion and should be ready for a vote at the next meeting.
The bottom line
A board meeting script for addressing all the agenda items helps the chairperson make sure all topics are covered and everyone’s engaged in discussion. It’s basically a “scenario” of an entire meeting that describes a board meeting structure and hints at what will be discussed at each stage.
A meeting script is built on and includes the agenda, discussion topics, action items, and Robert’s Rules of Order.
A chairperson can create a sample print script or do it virtually by using board management software that also helps with conducting board meetings.
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Who should be involved in creating the board meeting script?
Typically, the board meeting script is created by a chairperson together with the corporate secretary.
How can we ensure that the board meeting runs smoothly?
The board meeting script is actually one of the ways to ensure that the board meeting is smooth and effective, as it helps to control every step of the process.