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Everything You Need For Your Board Meeting Preparation Checklist

Are you the hired event planner or team member with the smallest to-do list today? Either way, it’s now your turn to plan your organization’s board meeting! Arranging a board meeting can be a daunting task. Any event that involves bringing otherwise unrelated people into a room together can also be filled with unexpected pitfalls. It doesn’t need to be that way! Hit the ground running and set yourself up for success: follow a board meeting preparation checklist to keep yourself on track and one step ahead of any potential snags. 

1. Determine the “why” 

Avoid existential crises: first and foremost, spell out a mission and objective for your meeting. Is it an annual update for shareholders, an election meeting, or a regular, quarterly meeting? You can’t create a path to your destination if you don’t have a clue as to where you’re supposed to be going. Once you have an outline, communicate those objectives to your key players! Keep your razor-sharp focus on the “why” while planning. This crucial piece will help you formulate an agenda, crystallize the attendees list, and determine what time and resources you’ll need. 

2. Who should be there?

Once you know why you’re having a meeting, choosing the attendees should be fairly straightforward. If you’re lucky, there’s history of who has been invited to these meetings in the past; if not, be the first one to start that file. Your invited speakers can be either an inspirational keynote for a larger meeting or a list of department heads who will be expected to contribute in some way. Give everyone plenty of advance notice! A month is generally appropriate, and electronic invites, whether through a formal invitation program or a simple email blast, are sufficient.

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3. Where will it be held? 

That’s an easy one! Your broad guest count, anticipated format, and metro area are all you need to book a Peerspace as your event venue. Peerspace offers thousands of unique venue options in cities across the country, as well as an efficient Concierge service to help you to manage lighting, room layout, and event catering.

Think outside the box and consider a warehouse space, an airy loft, or a renovated downtown club. If you’re Southern California-based, this contemporary indoor/outdoor lounge is perfect for meetings of up to 85 people. Don’t forget to plan for A/V needs, accessibility, and flow. Those logistics are critical to your event’s success! Work collaboratively with your Peerspace Concierge: share the details of your board meeting planning checklist with them and iron out the finer details together.

4. Orchestrate lodging and transportation

When completing your board meeting planning checklist, make sure your attendees can get to where they need to be! The travel component should be seamless for them. Create a relationship with a hotel that’s geared towards business travelers and reserve a guest room block. Confirm shuttle arrangements or hire a car service. Finally, communicate those arrangements well in advance by way of electronic followup, as well as old-school notes to be distributed upon check-in.

5. Juggle format and room layout

What’s going to happen at this board meeting? Will you have a series of presenters in front of a room full of people, or is it a true board-style meeting with everyone at one long table? Will it be a discussion format, or will there be presentations that require projection and/or sound? How about breakouts or a networking component? Whichever you choose, do a comprehensive site visit; make sure everyone can see and hear what’s going on. And make absolutely certain that the chairs are comfortable.

6. Prepare food and beverage arrangements

Something about meetings makes people hungry! Your board meeting will likely fall over at least one meal period, with the opportunity for one or two break services. Be hospitable when people arrive to check in: set up coffee, cold beverages, and continental-style breakfast. Whether lunch is a simple box lunch or an elaborate buffet, keep flavors fresh and clean but hearty. And always remember to offer options for general dietary restrictions. Afternoon break service is a great way to get everyone through the home stretch: combinations — such as cookies and brownies, cheese and fruit, soda and sparkling water — will help with maintaining your attendees’ second wind!

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7. Assemble a team

You are amazing, brilliant, and talented, but you can’t do it all yourself. Choose a trusted group of colleagues to act as your collective right hand. Delegate day-of tasks of A/V needs, attendee registration, preparation and distribution of materials, food and beverage, and wrangling of speakers. Also, have someone on hand to run unexpected errands and administrative tasks, just in case. What will you be doing on the day of the meeting? Your job, of course, is to greet your guests and oversee the execution of the meeting.

8. Rock the meeting!

Does executing a perfect event really need to be on the board meeting planning checklist? Yes! If for no other reason than being able to cross it off the list. Sleep soundly the night before, hydrate, and bring your A-game. Once you’ve had a flawless, successful event, be sure to give and receive kudos where they are due. 

9. Debrief and plan for the next one

Take the team out for drinks to celebrate and recap the day. Make notes of what worked and what didn’t; share honest feedback and inspiration for next time while it’s still fresh in your mind. Be sure to distribute the tasks of writing of thank-you notes and making followup calls.

If you use these steps as guidelines, you’ll be able to keep your board meeting planning focused and smooth. Remember that being a good host means anticipating your guests’ every need. Advance planning and coordination will make that task so much simpler for you. Finally, remember that, regardless of your experience, the size, or objective of the meeting, staying organized and following basic guidelines will help you to knock it out of the park!

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