Board Meeting Etiquette Tips

Being on the board of directors is a great honor, but also a great responsibility. A board meeting is a formal event where diversity of ideas and opinions is appreciated, but everyone involved should be mindful of the formality of the meeting and observe a certain etiquette that keeps your interaction with your colleagues at the best possible level. In this article, we will give some tips on boardroom etiquette.

How is a board meeting organized?

A board meeting is much different from any other business meeting. The chairman of the board is responsible for preparing for the meeting and making sure that all other board members are informed of the purpose of today’s meeting. Many boards follow the rules of order for the meeting that was developed by Henry M. Robert because they are the most appropriate and up-to-date. However, everyone’s interpretation of these rules is still different because all boards have different approaches to the meeting: some do it in a more rigorous way, some in a more relaxed way.

Regardless of the approach, every meeting is built on respect for participants’ personal time, the meeting should start and end at the same time as stated in the agenda. Topics of discussion are prioritized, and directors are required to raise their hands and wait their turn to speak. Everyone’s opinion is very valuable, but if you’re new, you should have read the institution’s latest strategic plan to see what’s what. If there is something you don’t understand at the meeting, be sure to ask.

Duties of a board member

It is very important for board members to have two basic qualities: independent thinking and curiosity. Independent thinking is much more valued because it is based on experience in various fields, it is important to convey your point of view without any rigidity.  Curiosity is a trait that shows that the participant is open to new ideas. You can’t be conservative, closed-minded, or arrogant when you are a board member.

It is also the responsibility of experienced members to introduce new ones. They should answer questions posed to them clearly, and new board members, in turn, should get to know all board members, as well as the leadership team, as quickly and well as possible.

All board members should know in advance what is required of them through the agenda. If something has become unclear to you, it is best to call the chair and find out before the meeting begins.

Rules of etiquette during board meetings

To simplify the boarding process, to make the atmosphere more relaxed and suitable for interaction, each of the participants should follow certain rules of etiquette, and below m describe what they are:

  • Do not use cell phones or other gadgets during the meeting for personal use, do not put them on the table, and use them only if necessary for the meeting
  • Be patient and do not interrupt others when they are expressing their opinions
  • Don’t engage in casual conversation with others; do not whisper or exchange notes during the meeting
  • Do not offend or embarrass others by your body language or appearance
  • You should come to the meeting fully prepared, know the issue and purpose of the meeting clearly, and can write down a list of relevant questions or your solution to the problem
  • Follow the agenda items clearly, if someone deviates from the topic it can damage the entire meeting
  • Respect others even if they don’t agree with your opinion
  • Disclose conflicts of interest if they arise in the conversation