Our survivial guide to your first board meeting
Congratulations, you need a board deck! (or you are just curious, which is fine too). That can only mean that your startup is on the right path, that you have an active advisory board and problems to solve. To get you prepared and insure an effective meeting, here’s our guide and presentation template for the perfect board meeting.
While a board meeting might seem an extra burden on an already stretched schedule, it’s not something to take lightly – but it shouldn't bug you down too much. You have to maximize the value of the meeting while minimizing the required prep time - if possible try to automate some of the KPI reporting.
Remember, board presentations are there to help your board help you. To do that, you need to show the current state of the company and the challenges you are facing as clearly as possible.
We have asked a couple of seasoned entrepreneurs and board members for their 2 cents, and compiled this small checklist.
1: Call your board members
Take the time to call each of your board members before the meeting, to learn, if there's anything in particular that needs special attention. They might have some ideas, or concerns, that you need to discuss or prepare for.
It's just nice to hear everybody's opinion and keep them in the loop - just as you call you mother, call your board members.
2: Align your team
Discuss the key issues and KPIs with your leadership team, and create alignment before the meeting. It's totally OK to disagree on issues, but you don't want it as a surprise at the meeting. Nor should it take up too much time - you are there to learn from your board, you can discuss internally at a later time.
3: Share the presentation in advance
To insure that you get through the trivial KPIs quickly, your board members need to be prepared. If they have seen the numbers before, you can move quickly to the critical problem solving part of the meeting.
4: Keep the focus
Be vigilant throughout the meeting, making sure that you are focussed on the problem at hand. You should of course allow your board members to discuss freely, but remember to keep the most critical problems in focus. You only have the attention of your board for a few hours, so make it count - even the best board members get side tracked in the heat of the moment.
5: Debrief immediately
Make sure you don't miss the key points by debriefing with your leadership team immediately after the board meeting. This is also a great time to get the next board presentation started, and setting the goals for the next period.
With this, take a look at our board deck for our imagined startup HappyCamper, and steal as much as you like.
- have a great board meeting
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