Assisting our clients to run effective and efficient meetings is a daily occurrence. Whether it is a meeting about an upcoming event, a Board of Directors meeting or a bi-annual Board Retreat, those attending want the meeting to be productive and worthwhile.
We assist the meeting’s Chair by helping prepare for the meeting in a variety of ways. We suggest a meeting notice and an agenda be distributed well in advance, and help organize the meeting. We discuss how the meeting will be run and whether Robert’s Rules should be used to and if yes, help facilitate the process. We take minutes and create an action item list post meeting for those in attendance. We also advocate the use of a Consent Agenda.
A Consent Agenda gathers all the items that do not need discussion or decisions, and are routine, such as monthly financial and progress reports, into one agenda item or “package” that is approved in one action and by one vote, rather than requiring each item to be addressed individually. Thus saving valuable meeting time for visioning and decision making.
There are a few tricks to using a Consent Agenda. We send out the Consent Agenda package of materials prior to the meeting, with enough time for participants to read it in advance. Participants alert us if they wish to move any consent agenda item to the regular agenda for further discussion, thus finalizing the agenda. At the meeting, there is another opportunity for participants to advise if any Consent Agenda items need to be moved to the regular agenda, for clarification or further discussion.
Once the Chair recites the items on the Consent Agenda, moves to adopt it, and hears no objections, they announce the items on the Consent Agenda have been approved and the meeting moves into the part of the agenda that involves productive, substantive and strategic discussions that are at the heart of why everyone is there.
The use of a Consent Agenda needs to be thoughtfully administered and the concept and the process understood. Give us a call to discuss Consent Agendas if you want to know more. Once you incorporate them into your meetings, you will never revert back!