The Importance of Board Meeting Rules

The board of directors is responsible for the management of a business. They make decisions and set policy. Most companies’ the decisions are taken by a majority vote of the board. Your board should have clear rules for meetings and guidelines to ensure that the decision-making process is successful.

The rules for meeting that most boards use are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, an English parliamentary rule book written by American General Henry M. Robert in 1876 to prevent meetings from devolving into chaos. While the implementation of Robert’s Rules of Order may not be necessary for every board, the application of formal guidelines can help to create a framework that will ensure fair debates during a virtual or hybrid meeting in which directors may otherwise feel lost in a jumble of faces displayed on the computer screen.

A key part of this is ensuring that the agenda is concise and clear and requires boards with well-written documents which are prepared and distributed in advance of the meeting to ensure that directors are prepared to talk about them. It’s also important to limit the amount of time allocated to reports and routine matters which can quickly drag the pace of the meeting.

Other meeting rules include restricting the number of minutes that a person can speak on any particular motion (two minutes) and making sure that every speaker is relevant to the issue that is being discussed. If a particular motion is causing a heated debate or causing tension the motion to end debate may be proposed with the support of two-thirds. In order to keep the discussion from becoming a waste of time, it’s essential that everyone respect each other and do not undermine fellow members by slamming their motives or using derogatory language.