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Name Tags? Acronyms? How to Make Board Meetings Better

I must have nonprofit boards on my mind recently, probably because I read and recently reviewed Before You Say Yes… by Doreen Pendgracs.

In any event, I came across a wonderful article at Blue Avocado, titled Ten Quick Ways to Invigorate Board Meetings. The article is from last year, but goes right to the basics of how to keep a board engaged. These are not fancy or expensive actions but very basic ones that sometimes we tend to forget. Here are a few of them:

  • Give everyone name tags. Yes, do it even if the group has been together for a while. Why make people suffer the embarrassment and social awkwardness that results from forgetting someone’s name?
  • Make a chart of frequently used external and internal acronyms. And don’t reply, “What acronyms?”
  • Write an anticipated action for each agenda item. This is really a great idea. An example is “Public Policy Committee: Anticipated Action = approve organizational statement to city council on zoning changes.”
  • Make sure each board member says at least one thing at every board meeting. The board chair should take the lead in encouraging everyone to speak, but all should help out.
  • Encourage “dumb” questions, respectful dissent, and authentic disagreements. No one should ever be afraid to say “I don’t understand.” or to voice a contrary opinion.

There are
10 of these suggestions in the article plus a bonus one. Be sure to read the whole thing and then put at least some of these suggestions into practice right away.


Photo by C Squared Studios/Getty Images

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Name Tags? Acronyms? How to Make Board Meetings Better originally appeared on About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 06:00:42.

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