Boards of Advisors are there to give advice, feedback, and accountability, and to ask thought-provoking questions that push the company forward. This means that companies who want to grow quickly need to run advisory board meetings effectively.
Here are some tips that should help you do just that.
Board of Advisor meetings should happen at least quarterly and up to six times a year. This allows the board to focus on core goals in detail instead of trying to pack everything into one or two meetings.
“Typically, the board of advisors convenes for a monthly or quarterly meeting” – Entrepreneur
However, if they happen too often, you’re going to end up wasting valuable time and losing the pressure to focus on that meeting. When there’s only four meetings a year, your board members will want to be engaged and focused.
Each advisory board meeting should be four to six hours in length. Make sure it always runs on schedule and that everyone is prepared to maximize everyone’s precious time.
“Advisers’ time is precious, so make sure you maximize the time spent for advisory board meetings.” – Diligent Insights
Too long and you’re both wasting everyone’s time and making the meeting feel slow. When it feels slow, people will lose focus. Too short and you won’t get everything done. It has to be the perfect length to fit everything and be fast paced enough that people don’t get distracted.
After the First Hour
After roughly one hour, effective advisory board meetings should shift into creative discussion, insight gathering, and debate around two to three critical areas the company is working on.
“It’s common, and necessary, for the Board to raises the “what if” questions during these debates. They will ask tough questions, but in the end, this will strengthen your ideas and your team.” – Meetings Suck
If the advisory meeting is run properly, it should be less like a presentation and more like a group discussion. Challenge each other in a constructive way in order to gain the best possible insights and sound consensus.
Additional Things That Should Happen
Reviewing financial statements are also worthwhile at these meetings as board members tend to ask things that employees do not. This practice with your Board WILL save and make you money long term.
Each Board member should be adding to all aspects of the discussion and not just giving advice from their area of expertise. You want to have everyone’s experiences and questions on all topics being discussed. If the marketing person only chimes in during marketing discussions then you will miss out. Encourage people to speak beyond their area of expertise to maximize their perspective.
The majority of the meeting should cover two core goals to focus on for the next year. This can be a big picture goal of which you need the Board’s advice, help, or questions.
Everyone at the advisory board meeting is a vital member of the company and therefore their time is beyond valuable. You want to make sure these meetings are effective, making them worth everyone’s time
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2010 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.