A strategic board agenda is crucial to a productive meeting. The way an agenda is designed and how it’s delivered can determine the success or failure of the meeting. The board chair can simplify the preparation and running of the meeting if she can create and stick to a standard format. It helps the board keep its their focus throughout the meeting to ensure that they do not get lost in discussions that aren’t relevant to the goals of the organization, or waste time discussing operational issues that can be handled by committees.

The majority of the agenda for board meetings should be dedicated to the most important issues and stimulating discussions. This could include forward-thinking, relating to strategic goals, or simply new information and data. To keep the board and discussion focused, it’s recommended that outdated or irrelevant items be removed from the agenda. If these items are necessary, they should be included at the end of a board session to not take up the entire time.

Board members should be provided with the agenda for board meetings prior to the meeting to allow them to become familiar with the topics and issues that will be discussed. This can inspire them to prepare for the meeting and also allow them to know what other members of the board are planning to bring up in the discussion. This level of transparency can aid the board in staying focused and organized during the meeting, and also reinforce the importance of attending in person.