Board Meeting Etiquette Part 3 (Speaking)

The effectiveness of Board meetings has a significant impact on the ultimate performance of an organization. And they require a certain etiquette in order to be most effective. But how exactly should they be treated? Why should we have them? What should be discussed? Who should attend? Answering such questions can be difficult for first-time entrepreneurs who find Board meetings to be a foreign experience. Even veteran entrepreneurs should be reminded of proper Board meeting etiquette. So I’ve asked some experienced entrepreneurs and investors to offer their opinions about Board meeting etiquette in the context of small, private businesses. Their responses will be compiled into a series of seven separate blog entries.

Who should do the speaking in a Board meeting and why?

“The Chairman of the Board should direct the meeting. He should set the agenda for management to follow to make sure all important topics to the Board are covered. Obviously, the Executive Team led by the CEO should have an opportunity to add topics that are important to the governance and direction of the company.” –Jaime Villagomez

“The Chairman of the Board. This title should go to someone who knows how to achieve 1 & 2.” –Allan Young

“The meeting should have a written agenda and be led by the CEO. There should also be a company Secretary appointed who is responsible for board meeting minutes. The Company overview is typically done by the CEO, but the CEO should not be the only speaker. Other company executives should be invited to participate and present areas of their business.” –Gregg Rosann

“The Chairman of the Board. Board members should be encouraged to air their views freely, but professionally.” –Robert Rieger

“Speakers should be equipped to manage and direct the meeting and attendees and be well aware and equipped to address formal structure and liability issues related to the conduct, content and process involved in a Board meeting. Speakers should keep comments and discussions at a high level and address areas of priority or current interest for the organization where the members can provide oversight, perspective and decision making.” –Tricia McGarry

“The chairman should do very little speaking until others have spoken. Of course, this depends completely upon what the agenda is and the agenda should always be aggregated by the chairman (with suggestions from board).” –Scott Spurgiez

“The Chairman of the Board should conduct the meeting and set the agenda. Key management should give reports at the direction of the Chairman.” –Jacob Webb

Next question:

When is it appropriate, if ever, for someone other than a board member to attend a Board meeting?

Previous questions:

Pt. 1: What is the purpose of a Board meeting? Why should we have them?

Pt 2: How long should a Board meeting be?

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