Board Meeting Etiquette

The etiquette of a board meeting is the set of rules that are not stated and protocols that board members must follow to ensure that meetings are conducted in an effective manner. Following proper etiquette allows boards to function at a level that allows them to fulfill their roles, and fosters collaboration. The following guidelines are essential for a successful board meeting:

Be punctual to show respect for others’ time. Be prepared by reading the board materials before time. Unless it’s an emergency avoid distractions like your phone or email and close unnecessary laptop windows. When you are having a discussion, avoid interruptions to the speaker. Take notes and ask questions if appropriate. If you are unsure whether a point is relevant to the topic, ask clarification from the speaker or chair of the board.

If you cannot attend the meeting in person, give the board the agenda and any reports that are scheduled for discussion before the meeting to allow them to look over the information and get ready for the meeting. By submitting these documents prior the meeting helps save time and allows for the discussion to be focused on the issue that is being discussed.

Respect your fellow board members even if they don’t agree with you. It is important to remember that the board’s purpose is to represent shareholder and stakeholder interests and make decisions that support the business’s success.