The art of setting a good agenda

Preparation is essential for an effective and successful board meeting. Here the agenda is your most important tool. Regardless of the number of participants or the length of the meeting, the agenda creates the conditions for the meeting to become a structured place for knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship. Here we describe how to create a good agenda.

Gather information

As chairman of the board, you often have the important role of leading and convening board meetings. The responsibility involves ensuring that the participants of the meeting are summoned in good time, that an agenda is set and distributed and that everyone is given access to any documents that form the basis for the issues to be discussed during the meeting. It also means that you as a meeting leader let the other members have their say in well-prepared and orderly forms. Today there are many tools that facilitate the meeting process.

Follow up on the previous meeting

The first thing you should do when setting the agenda for an upcoming board meeting is to go back and see what you discussed last. Pick up any loose threads and get in touch with those affected about follow-up.

Ask for input

In order for everyone to be able to contribute, you can send out requests to other members of the board a few weeks before the meeting. Ask for input on what they think the next meeting’s agenda should contain and ask if there are topics they want to present or issues they think need to be discussed.

Remind of reports

Reports, e.g. Financial, which will form the basis for discussions during the board meeting, needs to be collected in good time. Remind everyone concerned of the reporting deadline. This is important in order for the meeting participants to have enough time to load. This is most conveniently handled by collecting all material in a digital board portal that all members have access to.

With Boardeaser’s Board Portal , you can create professional reports for your board with a few clicks of a button.

Share any research

Some items on the agenda require research by the chairman of the board or the person responsible for the specific topic. It can be about statistics and data, what is said about the company in traditional and social media or quotes. Collect this and share with those who will attend the board meeting. The more well-read everyone is before the meeting, the more time you will have to make constructive decision-making.

An easy way to focus right?

Get more time with a digital board portal

Set a good agenda by sorting, prioritizing, and timing

When there is about a week left until the board meeting, the agenda should be ready. Sit down and sort through suggested points and prioritize the most important ones. Calculate the time required for each item on the agenda and then send out the agenda well in advance to the other meeting participants. Be prepared to be able to justify why you have chosen not to include certain topics.

Prioritize by relevance

Think about what is urgent or extra relevant right now. Topics to which the Board needs to attach greater importance should be a priority high on the agenda.

Create clear headlines

An easy way to create structure during the board meeting is to change the agenda items to questions. The more concrete the question, the more effective the discussion can be. Example:

“Digitize CEO report” -> “Which tool for digital CEO reports is best for us?”

By asking questions directly in the agenda, meeting participants find out in advance what the goal of the item is – information, discussion or decision.

Set time frames

As a meeting leader, you are responsible for ensuring that the meeting is held within set time frames. Therefore, it is important that you sit down and go through each point carefully. Calculate how long each point can take and set the meeting time based on that. Feel free to state the time required directly on the agenda, so the chances are greater that the other participants stick to the topic and respect the time frame.

Checklist – To set a good agenda

Here we list the basic points of the agenda

In conclusion, we have put together a short list that includes the main items around which your agenda should be built. If you have a good Board Portal , your work on meetings and agendas is simplified.

  • The meeting opens
    The Chairman of the Board opens the meeting and welcomes the participants.
  • Present
    The secretary is tasked with noting who is present.
  • Adjuster
    The secretary often suggests a person who will later adjust the minutes of the meeting.
  • The agenda is
    The agenda of the meeting needs to be approved. With good preparation, nothing new is added, but if any item should nevertheless be removed or added, it is noted at this item on the agenda.
  • Previous meeting minutes
    The chairman reviews what was discussed during the previous meeting and presents the status of these issues. Some of this work should have been done in advance. Whether further action is needed or decisions need to be taken is discussed.
  • Current meeting issues
    Here, attention is paid to current issues with essential information, discussions and decisions. Remember to be clear in the headings, so that the meeting participants know in advance what the goal of each discussion is.
  • Miscellaneous
    Issues that have arisen during the course of the meeting, but which are not on the original agenda, can be addressed on this item.

And, remember – look up! A good benchmark is that the agenda as a whole should always reflect the board’s most important priorities right now.

Boardeaser helps you create a good agenda

With Boardeaser’s board portal , you get help to quickly set a good agenda, from our templates or completely based on your own wishes. You also get help to plan meeting time, send invitations and the entire meeting process to signed minutes.

Log in or register for free to test Boardeaser’s board portal for 30 days.

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porträtt på Pär Haga, Vd på Boardeaser

Pär Haga


+46 73 725 19 83

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