A good board meeting does not happen by accident …it is a team effort. #9: 2013.
►The date and time of board meetings are a matter of public record; changing them will result in more problems than it solves. Resist this temptation at all cost!
►The agenda creates a natural flow for dialogue and decision making; stick to it.
►Library board meetings generally last 1.5 to 2 hours. Make the board members comfortable; it is just appropriate and respectful.
►Staff who are presenting to the Board should be at the meeting 20 minutes before and stay until the end of the board meeting. We are a team.
►I try and avoid any interruptions or distractions during a board meeting. It slows down the process and breaks the Board’s concentration.
►Variety is good. At each GPL board meeting, there is at least one staff report. Board members like meeting staff and connecting with the service.
►A well-informed Chair will lead a good meeting. Making sure they know what is on the agenda, understand the issues, and are comfortable facilitating the dialogue is essential.
►Board decisions are not official and actionable until the meeting minutes are passed at the next month.
The Board information package:
►Make it easy to access (e.g. on the library website) and an appropriate size. A 100 page board package lacks an editor!
►It has surprised me over the years that I continue to take great pride in a well-constructed and well-edited board package. GPL has a writing lexicon. We use a standard format with Arial 12 for the body and Arial 14 bolded for headers. We use photos and images whenever appropriate. If the board package is not interesting, board members won’t read it!
►In presenting a report, anticipate that the board has read it. A 2 to 3 minute overview is great, but then move into questions/dialogue or show and tell. The dialogue is where the decision is going to be made, so that is where you should focus your attention and time.
My personal goals in dealing with the Board include:
►I always consider it a successful meeting if they talk 90% of the time.
►The board members are volunteers and people. A bit of humour or show and tell goes a long way to making your point, so, YES, a board meeting needs a bit of entertainment and fun. A happy board makes good decisions!
►I always strive to be honest and positive.
►Less information and more listening is always a good idea.
A good board meeting does not happen by accident; it is a team effort. I share all of this detail with you, because library school doesn’t. Hopefully, being aware of these points reduces the stress that we all feel when we interact with the boss!
Have a great week! Spring is on its way here in southwestern Ontario.
Kitty Pope #9 March 2013