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How to Create Safe Board Meetings

A safe board meeting allows directors to express their opinions while being respectful, constructive and critical. This allows them to consider opinions and make informed decisions that are crucial to the overall success of the organization.

The board chair is the crucial element in creating a safe board environment by setting the tone, demonstrating respect and ensuring that discussions are on topic and civil. The chair should also pace meetings to allow everyone to speak and give the secretary the time to write notes.

An organized agenda is an essential part of a successful board meeting. Prioritize the most critical items and then shift less critical items to later meetings. The agenda should include sections for executive sessions as well as reports that must be checked or approved.

It’s important to send out the agenda and any reports that require review in advance of the meeting so that board members can review them before the discussion. This will enable them to be prepared for the meeting and will reduce the time spent reading reports during the meeting.

It is also important to allow for plenty of discussion and questions during the meeting. It isn’t easy to complete an agenda without a lot of discussion or debate. A knowledgeable facilitator can be extremely beneficial in this case. Board members should feel free to discuss safety concerns, incidents, and possible hazards.

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