As a board secretary, you know that preparing board packets, organising and confirming member attendance and finalising the agenda for meetings can take a lot of time and organisation.
That’s why it’s helpful to have a checklist for meeting preparation that is flexible enough to adjust for late additions and emergency matters.
Here are some key tasks to check off before your next healthcare board meeting:
Pre-Board Meeting Checklist
The Meeting Space
Decide when and where the meeting will take place. Confirm that the meeting space is available and ready with any necessary equipment, such as flip charts, easels, computers, whiteboards, projectors or audio equipment. Make a request for any equipment that is not available.
Develop the Preliminary Agenda
Briefly review the previous meeting’s minutes. Check in with board members that were assigned follow-up matters and make sure they are prepared to make their reports for this meeting.
Type out the preliminary agenda, which should include the meeting location, date and time. Once members see the agenda, they may have items to add.
Send the notice out to board members, the CEO, managers and any other key individuals that will be attending the meeting. If the meeting requires a public notice, post the notice in a public place and on a website, as required by the bylaws.
Check in on Urgent Matters
It’s possible that important or urgent matters have developed since the last board meeting.
Check in with key individuals — such as the Board Chair, CEO and Executive Directors — to see whether any of these items need to be added to the agenda.
Request Copies of Reports for the Meeting
Make a separate request for copies of reports from the executive director, treasurer, committee chairs, and anyone else who will be submitting a report.
Send Pre-Meeting Packets
Pre-meeting packets don’t have to be complete, but they should include any materials that board members need to read ahead of the meeting so they are better prepared to partake in informed discussions.
They should include any reports that committee chairs or others have prepared ahead of time. Include copies of the prior meeting’s minutes for correction and review, so that they can be voted on and approved at the upcoming meeting.
Prepare Meeting Handouts
Prepare extra copies of all handouts that were distributed, in case someone forgets to bring them to the meeting or if unexpected guests arrive.
Prepare an Outline for Minutes
Preparing a template for taking minutes prior to the meeting can be a huge time-saver. Include the date, time and location of the meeting, and leave a space to write in the time that the meeting is called to order. Add sections for the major items of the agenda and room for extra note-taking.
Make Final Confirmations
Confirm that any missing equipment has arrived, decide who will be opening the meeting space and ensure that the person has access to the room, including keys or security codes.
Follow up with members that have still not turned in their reports and determine who will be responsible for making copies for attendees when reports are late.
Mentally Run Through the Meeting
Make a mental run-through of the agenda. This may help you remember other things that need to be done prior to the meeting.
Keep this Checklist Handy
Bring your checklist to the meeting. As the meeting ensues, you may think of other things to add that will help in planning future meetings.
The preparation is not complete when the meeting begins; important tasks need to be performed after the meeting, so it’s a good idea to add them to your checklist as well.
Download our How to Take Meeting Minutes Kit to streamline your meeting minutes process for more effective results.
What to Do After the Board Meeting
Update Meeting Notices
The day after the meeting, add the next meeting event to your board management software; delete the old meeting notice from the public website, if applicable, and add the date, location, and time of the next meeting.
Take Care of Minutes
Make all changes, additions and corrections to the previous meeting’s minutes as approved by the board. Ask the board chair and secretary to sign and date the approved meeting minutes. Write a draft of the current meeting’s minutes while they are fresh in your mind.
Plan a Seamless Board Meeting
When meetings are well prepared ahead of time, they are sure to move along productively and efficiently. When preparation is done well, the meeting should run so seamlessly, that board members will not even be aware of how much preparation has gone into the meeting.
The board secretary is often the unsung hero, but board members appreciate arriving at a meeting that is well-planned. Using a checklist will help you prepare more effectively and cut down the time that is needed to prepare for the next meeting. Moreover, this models the importance of meeting preparation to the other board members and encourages them to be equally as diligent.
We’re passionate about the work of boards, which drives how we develop the BoardEffect solution. Boards operate in a series of overlapping cycles: a regularly scheduled meeting cycle, an annual operating cycle, and the cycle of longer-term board development and engagement. BoardEffect’s solution supports a modern approach to governance, powering boards’ interdependent responsibilities across these ongoing cycles.