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Insights — Exbo Group

Make the Most of Your Meetings: Planning and Navigating Board Meetings

Board Meetings
Minute read

Every boardroom has a cast of key players, and understanding their roles fosters effective communication, collaboration, and, ultimately, better decision-making. We’ll explore these roles and their responsibilities, how best to prepare for board meetings, and what you should include in your board deck. 

What is a Board Meeting?

A board meeting is a formal gathering of a company’s board of directors to discuss the organization’s performance, strategies, and key decisions. In addition, board meetings ensure the company meets its legal and financial obligations, help it set long-term goals, and allow participants to monitor executive performance.

How Often Should Our Company Hold Board Meetings?

The frequency of your meetings depends on your organization's size and specific needs. While urgent issues might call for special meetings, at a minimum, you should hold board meetings quarterly to keep directors in the loop, allowing them to help make strategic decisions. 

Who Should Attend Board Meetings?

The company’s directors will always attend the board meeting—and, depending on the topics on the docket, you might ask non-directors, such as executives or outside advisors, to join. Understanding these attendees’ roles leads to improved communication and cooperation. 


The board’s Chairperson oversees the board of directors. They facilitate board meetings, ensure their effectiveness, and uphold corporate governance principles. In some cases, the Chairperson may be the CEO. But, it’s generally considered best practice to separate these roles to prevent a concentration of power and to maintain checks and balances within the organization's leadership.


Directors, whether inside, outside, independent, or shareholder representatives, are handpicked for their ability to make decisions and oversee organizational performance. They ensure the company's alignment with the best interests of its stakeholders. A diversity of directorial perspectives and expertise benefits a company’s decision-making.

Company Secretary

Company Secretaries often ensure the company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. They manage board meetings, maintain meticulous company records, and facilitate communication with shareholders. Although they usually don't have voting rights on board decisions—unless they are also a director—Company Secretaries provide invaluable advice on governance matters.


Non-directors are people such as Board Observers, Executives, Employees, and Advisors, who attend meetings to provide insights, present reports, or advise on specific topics. Board Observers, often granted rights as part of specific agreements, are typically required attendees; however, the CEO ultimately decides who attends.

How Should We Prepare for Our Board Meetings?

A strong board deck starts with an organized agenda, which aids with preparation, facilitation, and prioritization, and provides a record of intended discussion points. When creating your agenda, include the time allotted for each item to hit every topic.

After reviewing the agenda, you’ll dive into the board deck.

Every deck looks different depending on the planned topics, but it’s important to create a professional, clear deck that will keep everyone’s attention.

Here are some examples of sections and topics within your board deck:

CEO Update

At a board meeting, the CEO serves as the bridge between the management team and the board of directors. They present an overview of the company’s performance, key accomplishments, challenges, and strategic outlook. A transparent and collaborative relationship between the CEO and the board fuels proactive communication and decision-making, so don’t shy away from sharing difficult news.

The most common slides you should include in your CEO Update are:

  1. Key Learnings: highlights the key takeaways from the prior quarter 
  2. Company Priorities Slide: demonstrates your priorities to the board in order to promote alignment, drive focus, enhance accountability, and encourage feedback.
  3. Cash Slide: reports the current cash position and provides a detailed view of the burn and runway.
  4. Quarterly Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Slide: showcases performance metrics, ensuring accountability and transparency about the company’s progress.
  5. Headcount Slide: serves as an indicator of organizational health and highlights current business requirements.

Sales & Marketing

This section is an in-depth review of the previous quarter’s sales. During this part of board meetings, the focus is on forecasts and takeaways. After a less-than-ideal quarter, the narrative requires effective management rather than panic. It’s an opportunity to explain the challenges you faced and the lessons you learned. 

The typical slides in the Sales & Marketing portion are:

  1. Sales Summary: a visually appealing and concise overview of the previous quarter’s performance offers a snapshot of the company’s health, sets the tone, and provides context for analysis. 
  2. Pipeline Slide: offers a glimpse into the company’s prospects and a comprehensive understanding of the upcoming quarter’s business outlook. 
  3. Quota Attainment (If Applicable): demonstrates each sales representative’s quota attainment, which fosters accountability and stimulates dialogue surrounding team requirements and performance. 

Financial Report 

This section provides insight into a company’s financial health and data on past performance and forecasts.

The slides you’ll often see within the Financial Report are:

  1. Budget-to-Actuals: displays the company’s financial performance against set goals, offering a clear perspective on planning accuracy and operational effectiveness. If you and the board haven't set a budget, you should include a two to three-year financial projection.
  2. KPI and Metrics: complements the budget-to-actuals data by providing greater insight into the company’s growth through KPIs and other critical metrics. 
  3. Revenue History by Quarter: reports on your top ten customers (for B2B SAAS), giving investors insight into your company’s growth within the existing customer base.

Product Update

While the CEO usually presents the previous three sections, a product update section is typically presented by the product or engineering lead. This topic offers insight into the progression and milestones of major initiatives. 

The slides commonly used for a Product Update are:

  1. Progress Highlight: showcases your team’s progress on initiatives, boosts transparency, aligns teams, and informs future initiatives. 
  2. Product Roadmap: provides a clear vision of product development over time and offers stakeholders a glimpse into the company’s direction. 

Final Thoughts

Effective board meetings drive organizations toward successful, informed decisions. By fostering transparency, collaboration, and adherence to governance principles, organizations leverage the collective wisdom of their board to navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about effective board decks or have questions about navigating board meetings, please reach out.