Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you that quarterly board meetings are an essential pillar in the growth of their company. Board meetings act as an open forum for members to address plans, identify goals, and discuss issues, and is typically made up of directors of an organization, investors, or representatives of a firm. Most seats on the board of a new company or nonprofit are filled with people who have skin in the game, and it’s important for all parties to come together to facilitate decision making in the interest of the business. A lot can ride on board meetings, especially for a small business. So much so that most organization executives will begin preparing their presentations for a board meeting weeks in advance.
In the last year, it’s safe to assume that many boards have transitioned to remote meetings in light of the global pandemic. Chairman of Uber’s board, Ron Sugar, said “for many years, boards have been reluctant to use virtual meeting technology. While perhaps never a complete substitute for physical presence, timely virtual connectivity can often make a huge difference in a board’s effectiveness.” Even though board meetings can now be done from home, most investors and members of corporate boards are likely in and out of meetings everyday. In fact, many executives will spend as much as 23 hours in meetings each week. Spoiler alert: nobody wants to be sitting in a conference room— remote or otherwise— all day. Efficiency is key. To keep your board meetings on track, and on time, you need an effective board meeting presentation to anchor the discussion.
If you’re still wondering how to run a board meeting with an effective presentation, to keep things on track and on time, consider these five tips.
Send your deck to the board prior to the meeting
The host of the meeting— usually a CEO or COO of the organization— should be mindful of scheduling, agendas, and timing. To keep a board meeting on track, it’s the host’s job to ensure that the board is aligned on the objectives of the meeting prior to dialing in. Send them an agenda, or the entire board meeting presentation, 48 hours in advance so that they have time to jot down any notes or prepare questions.
Define the purpose
Before any meeting, it’s imperative to define the purpose in order to keep things on track. If everyone on the board knows exactly why you’re meeting, it will help prevent unnecessary tangents. Are you meeting to update the board on the last quarter? Are there decisions to be made or policies that need to be set? Is it time for another round of funding? Whatever it is, establish the objective and outline it in an agenda. If there are actionable items, determine those before the meeting, too. This ensures that each board member is briefed and prepared to participate in collaboration.
This goes without saying, but preparation is key in any presentation. As we pointed out early, most executives recognize the weight behind board meetings and will start preparing weeks in advance. Being prepared means that you have packaged your message up in an engaging way, and have practiced the delivery. What story are you trying to tell? What do you want (or need) the board to know about your business? Studies show that 55% of your audience is less-inclined to lose focus and 22 times more likely to retain what you’re saying if you wrap your message up in a compelling story. Start there, and then practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more seamlessly (and timely) things will move along on game day.
Quality over quantity
There might be a million and one things that you want to share with the board since you last met, but keeping it to high-level information and removing items that aren’t critical to collaboration can save time. When it comes down to how to run a board meeting, there are two reasons you should choose quality over quantity; 1) if you bombard them with countless statistics and figures, they’re a lot less likely to engage and contribute their opinions, and 2) you probably only have an hour or two with the board, so you’ll want to use your time wisely. This is your chance to tell them exactly what they need to know about your business efforts, nothing more and nothing less. Of course, if they have questions or are seeking additional reports, you can address that at the end. Keep your presentation short to allow time for discussion.
Board meeting presentation slides should pack a punch
Board meeting presentation slides are essential in keeping your meetings on track. Think of each slide as an executive summary to what you’re saying. For example, if you’re explaining why you had a soft quarter, leave an impactful infographic of your company growth (or lack thereof) on the screen while you define any missed opportunities or explain the decline in sales. Your slides should pack a punch while being easily digestible, so we suggest keeping them to a minimum and adding only the most meaningful takeaways. Professionally designed board meeting presentation slides will help you control the narrative and tell the board exactly what it is you need them to know. Similarly, less cluttered slides will help your audience focus on the overarching message, and will keep your meetings moving along without having to backtrack and revisit a previous point.
If you need a little extra umph preparing for your next board meeting, take a look at this board meeting deck example. Our free, pre-built presentation template features board meeting presentation slides that will help you run a board meeting more efficiently and effectively.