Most companies will run Advisory Board meetings as part of their ongoing brand strategy, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the effectiveness of these meetings with tighter budgets and growing regulatory restrictions. So what can we do to maximise the efficiency and outcomes from these meetings?
Set clear objectives
Before you begin inviting people to attend an Advisory Board meeting, it is essential to define the ultimate objective(s) of the meeting. Share this with all internal stakeholders to get their input — you don’t want to be in a situation a day before the meeting where your Chief Executive hears about the meeting and wants a completely different agenda. Everyone will end up unprepared and this will make for an ineffective meeting.
Once agreed, it is important to clearly communicate the proposed outcomes of the Advisory Board with all attendees to they understand what is expected of them.
Preparation is key
Once you have determined your experts and agreed on a suitable date for the meeting, don’t just count down the days to the meeting. Provide the experts with pre-meeting reading materials, data and an agenda for the day of the meeting. Schedule in some time with each expert individually to brief them on the meeting objectives and explain how the meeting will run.
Assign a meeting moderator
The meeting chair should be passionate, an excellent communicator, and ideally well-known and respected by the other experts participating in the Advisory Board meeting. The chair should be personally briefed and understand the meeting objectives fully; they will be responsible for keeping the dialogue going and asking the right (open-ended) questions.
Take them online
Virtual Advisory Board meetings can be just as effective as face-to-face, maybe even more so. They are less demanding of your budget and some providers can also take on some of the logistical planning. Gone are the days when virtual meetings meant conference calls or audio dial in only. Organisations such as The Corpus now offer engaging online meeting rooms that connect individuals via webcam, allow screenshare, provide breakout rooms, instant polls, meeting transcription and so much more.
Remember your meeting objectives
You’ve worked hard to get this far. The meeting is underway and you have a varied selection of key opinion leaders in attendance so don’t ruin it now. These meetings shouldn’t be didactic. Nobody wants to sit for hours listening to one person talk through endless slides and data, and this is not the essence of an Advisory Board meeting.
The experts need to feel involved and engaged. Of course, there is likely to be some element of presenting, but most of the reading material should have been shared beforehand, so mix up the meeting format, switch from PowerPoint presentations to sticky-note brainstorming, quick polls or smaller breakout groups.
Share meeting outcomes
Once the meeting is complete, the transcripts have been reviewed and analysed, hopefully you’ll now have some actionable outcomes.
Share any report, outcomes and next steps both with key internal stakeholders and with the experts that attended. Their input has been essential in ascertaining how you proceed so let them know. Sending a personal thank you to each expert along with the report will not only make them feel valued but may also encourage them to participate in another Advisory Board meeting with you in the future.
For more information on how The Corpus could help with your Advisory Board meetings, contact Jan Ash (firstname.lastname@example.org, T: +44 (0)20 7428 2903, M: +44 (0)7970 230 197)