Adjourning A Meeting With The Board: Actionable Best Practices
October 11, 2022
We’ve all been in meetings that have ended abruptly with “sorry, I have a hard stop,” leaving attendees hanging without clear next steps.
While board meetings are typically a little more structured, a founder should have the skills to guide leadership meetings to a proper close. Adjourning a meeting with your board provides the structure for the following session and creates a positive professional atmosphere. Calling for an official adjournment is the proper last step, but there are other measures to follow that will set everyone up for future meeting success.
This breakdown simplifies how to complete each task before adjourning a meeting and officially bringing a session to a close.
How To Close Adjourn A Board Meeting
Some founders may wonder, “Do you need to adjourn a meeting?” when your board includes more laid-back investors and partners. The short answer is yes; you need to learn how to close a board meeting. It’s the professional way to let everyone know no more discussions will occur outside of specific exceptions.
Additionally, unfinished business carries over to the next session unless a board member requests a solution to a specific agenda item. Whether or not this happens is up to who is running the meeting.
Keep in mind that adjournment shouldn’t happen until board members have discussed every item on the agenda. Decisions related to agenda items needing further discussion, like action items, will roll over for review at a later date.
There are three acceptable ways in the business industry to adjourn a meeting: adjourn the meeting at the moment, adjournment to continue later, and adjournment sine die.
Adjourn the meeting now — Just as it sounds, the conference is adjourned at that moment, bringing an end to the session.
Adjournment to continue later — Suspension of the meeting until the next set time.
Adjournment sine die: — Closing a meeting without a set time for the next meeting.
Reasons For Adjournment
When you motion to adjourn, there are two primary reasons for closure: the board covered all agenda items, or time has run out.
To avoid running out of time, make sure your agenda breaks down time allotment for each discussion item and implement a starting and ending time. Keeping to a schedule ensures productive movement on each agenda item and that the meeting doesn’t run too long. Members can adjust their schedule around the session without worrying it will eat into time needed for other engagements.
Necessary Steps To Complete Before Adjournment
When bringing a meeting to a close, you’re preparing yourself and the board of directors for the next board meeting. Productivity should flow from session to session through the organization of unresolved business from prior meetings and accurate meeting minutes.
Outline Meeting Outcomes
In your meeting minutes, agreed-upon rulings shouldn’t be vague sentences. Add all the necessary details to assure all board members will know exactly what is happening, why it’s happening, and who is responsible for any next steps.
Action items require the same attention to detail. Assignees' names, due dates, and reasons are all pertinent information. When writing outlines, write them for a stranger without context in the meeting’s discussions.
Plan For The Following Meeting
Mark pending business for further discussion on the current agenda or your notes. Keep track of unfinished action item decisions. All unfinished business goes on your next agenda. Flying blind leaves room for error and increases the chance you’ll accidentally neglect important business.
Before adjourning, confirm all finalized action items with assignees, including due dates, to track progress throughout all other meetings. Progress tracking informs board members of any arising problems or speed bumps as changes happen.
Finally, ask for input from board members and if they would like to add any topics to the next agenda.
Emails flying back and forth can hinder communication between the last meeting and the next, making it harder to create a proper board meeting agenda. Give your board members a few minutes to bring up points of business they’d like to discuss before adjourning.
When it is time to adjourn a meeting, there are a few steps to follow to complete the process.
1. Discuss final items from the agenda.
2. The chair should ask if there is any other business the board feels needs to be discussed or brought up for the next meeting agenda.
3. Closing remarks. Tie up loose ends, discuss conclusions and solutions, and end positively.
4. The chair announces the move to adjourn the meeting.
5. Declare the meeting adjourned.
Get Ready For Your Board Meeting With Zeni
Board meeting prep is intimidating. At Zeni, our CFO advisory services provide support from experienced team members to help founders prepare for their board meetings. Using Zeni’s AI-driven insights and real-time dashboard, our advisors will work with you to build a board presentation that will highlight your startup’s future through financial projections and analysis, scenario modeling, monthly KPI reviews, and actuals vs. planned breakdowns.
If your next board meeting is quickly approaching, reach out today for Zeni’s support.
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