It’s only early February, but we’re full speed ahead into our spring meeting season here at Farland Group. As we plan for the coming months, below are a few items we work on sooner, rather than later, when pulling together an advisory board meeting.
Meeting Dates. Board member participation is vital to the meeting experience, and to have robust attendance numbers, meeting dates should be secured well in advance.
For instance, one of our boards starts looking during the summer months at potential meeting date options for the following year. It’s good practice – members receive ample notice and can put holds on their calendars, and their meeting participation is more likely a yes, than a no.
RSVPs. While members may have the dates held on their calendars, the earlier the better when requesting RSVPs for an upcoming meeting. In the past, I would request RSVPs at 10 weeks out for an in-person meeting or virtual meeting. Now, I request RSVPs from member offices at around 12-14 weeks out from that specific meeting date.
I’ve found that it’s particularly helpful not only for myself, but for everyone involved with the meeting, to get a read on the session attendance as early as possible. More importantly, it allows our client plenty of time to fine-tune their messaging, because they know the specific audience.
Strong Agenda. Most would say the most important puzzle piece to any meeting is creating an agenda with engaging, relevant and future-leaning topics. Sometimes, topics are carried over from a previous meeting, and other times, board members are keen to voice what they’d like to hear in a future session.
Balancing compelling topics with the right timing can take several iterations before an agenda is just right. Don’t be shy – start brainstorming ideas for different sessions, potential speakers and timing for each as far as 3-4 months out from a particular meeting date.
What do you prioritize as you prepare for your customer advisory board meeting?