To organize optimal meetings for a board of directors or executive committee, there are many elements to consider: planning meetings, communication between members and directors, writing the agenda and minutes, managing documentation, making decisions, and tracking actions… and so on!
It is very important to establish good governance, but also to use the right tool that will optimize the management of your board of directors (BOD) and executive committee. Using a board of directors meeting management software is a solution to consider. However, it is important to make the right choice among all the software available on the market.
In this article, we share with you the steps to help you make the right choice. This can save you from experimenting with tools that are not optimal for you in the end.
How to Choose a Board of Directors Meeting Management Solution, Step by Step:
- Define the major issues
- Write down the objectives to be achieved
- Determine the essential needs
- Determine the features you need from your tool
- Do research considering these 7 benefits
- Try it out: free mode, demo or videos
- The cost, a fair and competitive price
- Successfully implement a new product
Introduction: The Steps of a Board of Directors Meeting
Let’s go back to basics! Knowing how to prepare for a board meeting is important before choosing the right tool. Using the right tool is crucial, but so are the procedures and methods used.
Here are the steps to run an effective board meeting:
- Determine the meeting schedule
- Invite members to the meeting
- Write a structured agenda
- Prepare well before the board meeting
- Manage the conduct of the board
- Recording decisions
- Writing the minutes
Read our article on How to organize a successful board meeting in 7 steps where you will find the details of each of these steps.
Step 1: Define the Major Issues
It’s time to evaluate the situation by making a list of the major problems you encounter in the process of your board or executive committee meetings.
To give you some hints, we have surveyed our clients to identify the most recurrent problems in terms of meetings. The top 5 are meeting time not respected, lack of preparation and structure for the meeting, no follow-up of actions, no collaborative and private place to access documentation (agenda, minutes), and lack of communication between members.
Of course, you may encounter other problems such as an agenda that is never consulted by members before the meeting or the right to speak not being respected, which is why it is important to also establish clear rules of conduct, in other words, governance.
Step 2: Write Down the Objectives to be Achieved
Now you need to ask yourself: what are the objectives you need to achieve to make your board meetings optimal? The objectives can be related only to the Board or to your whole organization.
You may want to have better communication between directors and administrators after a decision has been made, have greater coordination with external members, have a faster follow-up on actions, improve the flow of meetings and develop better governance.
Be specific when writing down your goals. Quantifying them will help you find appropriate solutions and even see how well they worked. An example of a quantifiable goal is to have 100% of the members review the agenda before each meeting.
Step 3: Determine the Essential Needs
Next, you need to think about the specific needs for each type of participant, whether it is the administrators, the secretary, the directors, or the external people. You also need to consider who will be using the tool and if they are comfortable with technology?
For your board of directors: will some temporary guests not have access to certain sensitive data on the agenda? During the meeting, many decisions will be made, will all members need to be in direct contact with the executive committee? Will certain minutes need to be kept confidential?
For an executive committee: will all executives need to have quick access to the minutes from the BOD? As they ensure that the decisions of the Board of Directors are implemented within the company, will a task tracking system be essential? Do you need to track time during your meetings to avoid wasting time?
For operational team meetings, we have an article on how to choose a meeting management solution.
Step 4: Determine the Features You Need from Your Tool
Now you know the issues, goals, and needs of your board and committee. The next step is to make a list of features that you must have in your meeting management software.
You could make a list at several levels under the needs of the directors and executives. Your list could be divided according to 3 selection criteria: absolute must-have, important but not necessary, or appreciated but not essential.
Step 5: Do Research Considering these 7 Benefits
Once you’ve established a clear picture of what you want, it’s time to get into search mode! A meeting management software is a very good solution to improve the efficiency of your board of directors and executive committee. To enlighten you further, here are the 7 benefits it should include:
1- Security of Sensitive Data
We all know that information security should be the number one criterion for software. There is data in your organization that must remain confidential. There may be some documentation that needs to be kept private within your board or management depending on the level.
To be even more specific, your chosen software should count:
- Access control to secure confidential data
- A traceability of documents
- Meet the criteria of the highest standards: ISO 27001, SOC 1 and 2; and RGPD
- The ability to manage multiple levels of access and roles for information access
2- Improve Collaboration Among Directors and Management
A meeting management solution that allows collaborative drafting of documents: agenda and minutes with access logging and approval tracking prevents the multiplication of documents and improves communication within your board or committee.
This software should allow centralization of documents, which ensures a significant reduction of email exchanges; you no longer need to notify other board members that the agenda has been drafted and that it is now their turn to insert their items on the agenda or to send an email with the minutes to all members. The documents are drafted jointly with a follow-up of the modifications made by the members.
A common meeting management tool also provides a clear, uniform, and recurring presentation structure, which allows for a substantial reduction in writing time and more fluid communication during your board or committee meeting.
Automation of activities such as notifications of upcoming meetings also alleviates recurring administrative tasks. This automation is generated within the tool or integrated with your existing tools such as Google, Microsoft 365, or Teams.
3- Increase Participation in Virtual Meetings
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen online meetings become more and more a formality and even a convenience. Collaborative work is more than important in virtual meetings. A good meeting management tool for the board of directors and executive committee must allow all directors and managers to work in the same place.
With a common tool, all participants will have quick access to authorized documents. They can consult them on the technological device of their choice, regardless of their location or time zone. Quick access to the agenda can motivate your board members to consult it before the meeting to be better prepared for the event.
The chosen solution should also allow you to connect to a videoconferencing software such as Beenote, which is offered in full integration with Teams.
4- Reduce Meeting Costs
First and foremost, what we are looking to reduce is the time spent on administrative procedures: printing, handling, sharing, filing, archiving, and searching as well as the expense of paper, ink, mailings, etc. A meeting management tool allows all this and more!
You reduce the costs inherent to your board meetings by centralizing electronic documents and at the same time, you save a lot of physical space in your organization due to the reduction of archival documents.
Attendance management with presence statistics can also be a major element in reducing the costs inherent to meetings. Irrelevant participation of external guests during your board or committee meetings can be costly.
Test it! Calculate the cost of your meetings with this calculator below and you will see that there are only benefits to adopting a tool to better manage them.
5- Facilitate Sharing and Research Through Good Document Management
Managing all meeting-related content in one place increases collaboration, saves time, and facilitates research and data sharing. All agendas, minutes, notes, tasks, and decisions should be easily searchable by keyword for all board members or directors.
Good document management simplifies access to information and centralizes all documents so that the latest version is always on hand, decreasing the risk of version errors.
It is also easier for the organization to have a centralized repository of all your board or committee meetings with different levels of access to keep a history.
6- Efficiently Track Decisions and Assigned Tasks
Of course, a meeting management tool helps you to organize your meetings for your board or executive committee; to allow all collaborators to know what will be discussed (agenda) and what was discussed and decided (minutes). But above all, it must assist you after your meetings in tracking decisions and actions.
Decisions taken should be recorded and kept in a decision register for quick access. If actions need to be taken, they should be recorded and the completion of these tasks should be easily tracked by the people involved through an integrated task system (Google Tasks or Microsoft To Do) or unique within your tool.
Board of Directors and Executive Committee meetings are intended to improve the functioning of the entire organization, so they owe their success to the achievement of results!
7- Maximize Time Investment and Minimize Long-term Costs with a Renewable Tool
The last element to consider: does the tool seem to be always evolving, improving by offering new features? Does the tool update regularly? This is very important so that the tool remains efficient according to the changes in your organization, but also to technological evolution.
To find out, you can read blogs and subscribe to newsletters to stay informed of updates and new features of the chosen solution. You can even discuss it with your account manager or chat with an online support person. The team behind the meeting management solution should be available to support you.
Step 6: Try it Out: Free Mode, Demo or Videos
The most concrete phase: test the meeting management tools that seem to fit the best and evaluate them according to the needs of your board of directors and executive committee, according to the steps mentioned above.
Most of the software offers free versions with limited functionality or offers access to all functions for a trial period of more or less 14 days. If you can’t try it out, demos are the alternative of choice or you may have access to videos.
For example, Beeboard offers you to try all the features without limitations for 30 days. You will also have access to online help articles and videos for faster support. You can also enjoy a personalized demo.
Step 7: Evaluate Costs and Compare
In the meeting solutions market, most products have a price based on the number of participants, specific features, team size, etc. Of course, you probably already have a budget to respect, but it would be pertinent to analyze the return on investment (ROI) that this product will bring you. Software costs you money, but if it saves you time, it should be considered.
When you make your purchase, it is important to foresee the implementation costs, which means, if the support team can accompany you during the implementation in your organization.
Moreover, if the solution is available on the cloud, you will not need expert teams to configure the software.
Step 8: Successful Implementation of a New Product
The final step is to analyze the implementation of your future product. Change is simply the realignment of your organization to evolve and thrive, but adopting a new tool can sometimes make some people uncomfortable. That’s why you have to do it properly!
Consider the 5 group profiles and product adoption phases when planning your implementation. Your board members and management will quickly adopt the new tool if it is simple and easy to use.
Use the resources your tool offers to coach future users. You should have access to webinars, demos, tutorial videos, a knowledge base, FAQs, coaching by a qualified person. All of these elements will make it easier to implement within your board or committee, which once well in place, will only offer benefits.
Take your time to analyze and choose a meeting management tool for your board and committee that meets all your needs and the 7 benefits mentioned above.
Don’t forget that this is a long-term investment that will ultimately save you time and ease the workload. Beenote has been named the best meeting management software for your board of directors and executive committee. Our comprehensive Beeboard tool supports you before, during, and after your BOD or executive committee meetings.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, it will be a pleasure to guide you!
A passionate web content creator and writer at Beenote, her primary motivation is to create content that can guide organizations looking to optimize their meetings and boards. Giving practical resources to inspire businesses to adopt best practices to become meeting pros. No more wasting time!