Board meeting etiquette refers to the set of unspoken rules and procedures that board members follow to ensure that meetings are conducted in an effective manner. Following proper etiquette helps boards perform at the level needed to fulfil their roles and encourages collaboration. The following guidelines are crucial for effective board meetings:

Respect the time of others by being punctual. Prepare yourself by reading the material on the board ahead of time. Avoid distractions like your phone or emails and close any unnecessary laptop windows unless there is an emergency. During discussions, avoid talking to others and interrupting speakers. Take notes and ask questions if appropriate. If you’re not sure whether the topic is pertinent to the topic, seek clarification from the speaker or chairperson of the board.

If you cannot attend the meeting in person send the board the agenda and any reports that are up for discussion well before the meeting to allow them to look over the information and get ready for the meeting. This will reduce time and allow the discussion to remain focussed on the topic at hand.

Respect your fellow board members regardless of whether they agree with you. Remember that the role of the board is to represent stakeholder and shareholder concerns and to make decisions that support the success of the company.