Making an agenda and meeting packet for the board

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Making up the packet is an excellent way for the facilitator to get a handle on what needs to be covered in a meeting and crafting the agenda -- and help the board run its meetings in a more professional way. It's pretty simple, but does require some legwork. Suggestions are included here for practices that may make it easier in the future.

Making the packet

This consists mainly of pasting email contents into a word processor, but the process itself feeds into the creation of the agenda.

  1. Start with the minutes from last meeting
    • Look for items that were put to the next meeting (there should be a section in the minutes; things may also be mentioned in discussion)
  2. If there are reports or proposals, include their text in the packet
    • Where possible, include URLs for these -- most will be from email (this will provide context)
  3. Email packets a week before the meeting so people will have time to review and process them

Building an agenda

This will be the first item in the packet, the game plan.

  • a basic framework includes checkin, agenda review, commitment review, optional training, reports from collective and noncollective liaisons, business, next meeting roles
  • note whether the item is a report, a discussion or requires a decision. sometimes discussion and decision may have to span multiple meetings.
  • make sure there is a person responsible for framing the discussion/giving the background information for each item
  • my strong suggestion: require reports to be submitted a week beforehand, so that meeting time is saved for clarifying questions and board members may have the text in their hands
  • take into account annual/recurring items (annual meeting, budget review/approval, THM-related tasks, board retreats). these may provide the framework for a Board agenda calendar.
  • read over the agenda as a reality check. is it way too long? figure out if there's anything that can be decided online, divided into segments over multiple meetings, approved as part of a consent agenda, delegated to committee, or the like.