Board meetings are an incredible chance to shape a company, pulling together brain power to navigate turbulent waters and calmer seas. If done well they can transform the direction of an organization. But without a clear structure and a strict discipline meetings can become unproductive and frustrating for all those involved.

It’s important to establish the tone in advance by calling the meeting to order and making sure that any discussion is that are of a personal or a formal nature. After ensuring that a quorum present, you can move on to the next item on the agenda, and then start the main part of the discussion. This is where you will discuss the major changes to the business as well as the major forks of the road, and the strategies that will guide your company into the future.

Reduce the length of meetings by encouraging officers and committee chairpersons to share bullet-point summaries. This allows for more time for strategic discussions and ensures that your attendees won’t get bored or distracted from lengthy conversations.

Make sure to send all relevant documents to your attendees before the meeting (committee and staff reports, Board packs, and any other documents with context). This will not only save time during the meeting but will also help your attendees prepare ahead of time. When the meeting begins begin with any follow-up questions or clarifications arising from the materials you’ve read and then jump straight into the most important discussions.