The board of directors runs the company through making decisions or setting policies. In most organizations the board of directors must decide by a vote. In order to facilitate a smooth decision-making process, your board must have clearly defined the rules of meetings and guidelines everyone follows.

The rules for meeting that most boards follow are based off Robert’s Rules of Order, an English Parliamentary rule book that was written by American General Henry M. Robert in 1876 in order to prevent meetings from becoming chaotic. While Robert’s Rules of Order is not essential for every board to apply however, formal guidelines can be used to establish an environment that allows for the fairness of debates in meetings in hybrid or virtual settings which directors may be lost in a sea of computer-generated faces.

This includes ensuring the agenda is clear and concise. In order to do this, well-written boards documents must be prepared and distributed prior the meeting to ensure directors are prepared to discuss. It’s also important to reduce the amount of time allocated to reports and routine issues which can quickly drag down a meeting.

Other meeting rules include limiting how many times a person can speak on a motion (two minutes) and ensuring that the speakers are relevant to the subject in question. If a particular motion is becoming heated or causing tension the motion to end debate can be put forward with the approval of two-thirds. To avoid unnecessary time, it is vital that everyone respects each other and does not impede other members’ motives or uses derogatory language.