Do you know that companies spend $100 million on needless meetings each year? If you want your company to avoid wasting money and hold simple board meetings that meet the participants’ expectations, you’re in the right place.

One of the factors influencing the success of a board meeting is a structured agenda. It keeps discussions on track, makes sure time is used well, and guarantees all important topics are covered. Having such a well-organized board meeting, in turn, leads to clearer decision-making and contributes to the overall success and effectiveness of the organization.

Keep reading to learn how to write a board meeting agenda that revives your meetings. Check meeting preparation tips, and learn how to write meeting minutes.

Also, get an effective board meeting agenda template to create your next agenda by clicking the download link on the right side of this page. It will streamline your planning process and ensure all essential items are included!

What is a board meeting agenda?

A board meeting agenda acts as a roadmap for meeting organizers, providing an efficient way to navigate discussions and accomplish goals. It also serves as a protocol for the head of the board of directors by including an ordered list of issues, as well as the appointed members and their roles. 

Online tools, such as the board of directors meeting agenda software, can save tons of time and capture the most important details of a meeting. A board meeting agenda tool can reduce the need for correspondence, sending emails, and sharing board packs and other documents, ultimately boosting the efficiency of your organization’s board meeting from start to finish.

Correctly preparing an agenda for a board meeting ensures:

  • consideration and solution of pressing issues
  • access to relevant documents and reports
  • competent time allocation
  • a clear plan for discussion, minimizing time wasted

Don’t forget to align the agenda items with your annual board meeting plan to ensure that every meeting contributes to your organization’s strategic goals.

Why board meeting agendas matter

Here are six reasons for taking meeting agenda creation seriously:

  1. Efficiency. It provides a structured outline for the meeting, optimizing time allocation and ensuring discussions remain focused.
  2. Clarity. It outlines the topics to be discussed, reducing ambiguity and making sure all participants have clear expectations about the meeting.
  3. Prioritization. It helps prioritize important matters, ensuring that critical issues are addressed promptly.
  4. Decision-making. It facilitates effective decision-making by providing a framework for discussion of key topics.
  5. Preparation. It allows attendees to prepare in advance by providing a list of topics to be discussed and materials to review.
  6. Follow-up. It serves as a reference for follow-up actions and decisions made during the meeting, ensuring their implementation.

Who sets the agenda for board meetings?

Typically, the responsibility for setting the agenda falls on the board secretary. However, the company secretary and the CEO may also draft an agenda for a board meeting. Let’s explore who writes the agenda for a board meeting in more detail:

  • Board secretary. The board secretary often takes the lead in agenda creation, collaborating closely with the board president to ensure alignment with organizational goals and priorities.
  • Company secretary. The company secretary may also write the agenda, especially if the meeting’s focus is on legal or compliance matters, leveraging expertise in governance.
  • CEO. The CEO might take charge of agenda creation for a meeting that involves strategic planning or operational updates.

These individuals may also seek input from all board members. This ensures that the agenda reflects their priorities and concerns, which improves engagement and efficiency during the board meeting.

How to create an agenda for a board meeting 

Do you want to keep participants on task and capitalize on board meeting time? Learning how to make an agenda for a board meeting can help. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Approve the purpose of the board meeting. The main objective of most board meetings is to make several key decisions. But, agenda tasks can also include strategic planning, problem identification, task assignment, financial performance assessment, etc.
  • Choose specific topics to discuss. Without a detailed agenda for a board meeting, it’s easy to waste time on unnecessary issues. Decide which topics will be discussed ahead of time.
  • Identify a speaker for each of the agenda items. To ensure every item on your agenda for a board meeting is discussed adequately, identify a speaker for each topic and give him or her time to prepare.
  • Indicate the time frames for each agenda item. Keep the board meeting on task by determining beforehand the time that will be devoted to each topic.

A typical board meeting agenda

A standard board meeting agenda should have the following structure:

  1. Meeting info. Board meeting agendas contain the name and address of the organization and state the meeting date, location, time, and meeting type. You can skip the meeting location if it’s a virtual board meeting.
  2. Start of the meeting. The formal opening ceremony begins when the board chair announces the meeting, greets the attendees, and officially calls the meeting to order. Afterward, the secretary can take meeting minutes.
  3. Previous meeting minutes. This agenda section lists the files of the previous meeting’s minutes. Board members should approve the minutes by voting. At this point, the team may discuss suggestions regarding meeting minutes. A good indicator of a great board meeting agenda is when board directors spend minimal time approving the meeting minutes because they have reviewed them before.
  4. Reporting. The reports part has attached officer reports from the CEO and other C-level employees. The corporate executives outline the current state of the business, project milestones, business progress updates, and other aspects. In a good meeting, board committees already have considerations regarding the reports as they have reviewed them carefully before the gathering.
  5. Previous business matters. This part lists business routine items and issues discussed during the previous meeting. The participants should recall and approve them. If there are suggestions, board members move them to the discussion part and vote for the rest.
  6. New business matters. This section enumerates business items for discussion. Meeting participants may debate these topics, providing suggestions and introducing new ideas. Unresolved organizational problems are reviewed in this part as well.
  7. Announcements. This part includes business matters that don’t require reviewing, announcements, and comments. At this stage, board members may introduce necessary topics for future meetings.
  8. End of the meeting. After announcements, the meeting reaches an end. The board directors thank each other, schedule the next meeting, and officially end the discussion.

Board meeting agenda template

An agenda template for a board meeting is a pre-designed framework that outlines the structure and key elements of a board meeting agenda. Such templates are really helpful as provide a standardized format for organizing and planning board meetings, ensuring consistency and clarity. Another big advantage is that they save time for board secretaries and other individuals involved in creating agendas.

Board agenda template

Looking for a board meeting agenda examples? You’ve come to the right place.

Download a simple board meeting agenda template and use it for your next board meeting.


Using a board meeting agenda sample in pre-meeting preparation

If you are wondering how to run a board meeting script or how to prepare for a board meeting, you should start a few weeks in advance and take the next steps:

  • Prepare committee reports. Gather financial reports, as well as updates, notes, and other necessary documents. They should be compiled by corporate executives and included in the agenda.
  • Compile a clear agenda. The board secretary should bring up agenda topics to be discussed and fill the agenda template with action items, reports, meeting notes, etc. Afterward, they should compile the agenda, previous meeting minutes, and board reports into board packs.
  • Distribute the board packs. The secretary should send the board packs to the board directors via email or secure board management software. They should receive the agenda ahead of time (a week or two earlier) to get enough preparation time. 
  • Stick to the Robert’s Rules of Order. Ensure that the prepared company board meeting agenda adheres to Robert’s Rules of Order agenda principles, a widely accepted parliamentary procedure manual.

How to use a board meeting agenda for taking meeting minutes 

Meeting minutes help you get the most out of your board meeting agenda and not miss a beat. With the best board meeting agenda, you can add minutes to each item, leave comments, and assign tasks. As a result, by the end of the meeting, you will have a concise, well-ordered task and decision list.

When a meeting is finished you can share the minutes between all participants and link relevant documents — all with just a couple of clicks!

While digital agenda templates simplify meeting minutes, you should make them concise and actionable. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making effective meeting minutes.

  1. Write in real time. While many secretaries opt for creating minutes post-meeting, we advise you to generate them during the discussion. It’s easy if you work directly on the board meeting minutes template.  The real-time context will help you capture more key details. Otherwise, you will lose many critical aspects as your brain forgets 50% of the information in one hour under a forgetting curve.
  2. Avoid subjectivity. Meeting minutes are official documents that must be free of personal judgment. A good secretary records straight facts and avoids personal observations. Ensure you include comments to provide more details on someone’s actions rather than your opinion.
  3. Balance between detail and simplicity. Don’t record everything board directors say or do. Doing so shifts your focus from actions and decisions to discussions. Writing in detail means elaborating on board agenda items and specific outcomes in managing the board.
  4. Take straightforward minutes. Make meeting minutes easy to understand for absent board members. Indicate who did what at a specific time and list the attendees in the attendance sheet. Include as much detail as possible to make your records clear to future board members.

Want to streamline your board meetings?

Get board meeting agenda template


How does a virtual boardroom help create board meeting agenda templates?

To maximize the value of a meeting agenda, a virtual boardroom offers an agenda builder in template form. An easy-to-use, customizable sample of the agenda for board meetings can assist with assigning tasks, scheduling, sharing documents, and more.

An agenda builder helps to automate tasks that otherwise can be time-consuming while also optimizing preparation and meeting results in an organized way. Build your personal agenda from scratch or utilize a pre-built board of directors meeting agenda template to jump right in.

With this solution, you will get a multipurpose corporate board meeting agenda example that can be customized to meet all your business needs:

  • build detailed agendas from scratch
  • use pre-built board meeting agenda templates
  • create interactive PDF files
  • add documentation
  • record meeting audio
  • allocate time for the presentation

The bottom line

A recipe for effective meetings includes an effective board meeting agenda, well-written meeting minutes, and well-prepared reports. You can prepare them one by one using a sample of board meeting agenda and different tools. But you can also make your life much easier with a digital boardroom.

If you don’t know where to start, you can safely try the iDeals board portal. You will get a secure file repository for board reports, a powerful agenda builder, and a convenient meeting minutes tool to kick-start the next board meeting.

Time to use the modern board management software!

iDeals Board serves board of directors, committee members with a comprehensive suite for governance tools

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How to prepare an agenda for a board meeting?

Begin by identifying the purpose of the meeting. Select key topics to discuss based on the central theme and assign a speaker to each topic. Ensure both old business and new business are covered. Finally, allocate a sufficient time frame for each presenter.

What to include in a board meeting agenda?

The basic elements of the meeting agenda are the date, time, and location of the meeting. Then, you need to list all the discussion topics in the order of their presentation and with the assigned time frames. Include the presenters’ names to ensure everyone is on the same page. Finalize the agenda with a time segment for final comments, action items assignment, and the next meeting’s date.

What should always be on a meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda must always include priority discussion topics, speaker names, and allocated time frames. Using a digital agenda template can help ensure that all the necessary items are included.

What not to include in a meeting agenda?

The agenda does not include the names of all attendees, as this information is covered in the minutes.

Download our free board meeting agenda template now and simplify your agenda-setting process! 
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