Very often the only time a board member is given the "microphone" at a board meeting is when he or she is making a committee report. But wait a minute! Why do we ask people onto boards because of their knowledge and perspectives, but never give them a chance to share their knowledge or perspectives with us?
Instead, at each board meeting schedule a 7x7 ("seven by seven") Board Briefing: a board member makes a 7 minute presentation, followed by 7 minutes of questions/answers/responses. Friendly-but-fierce timekeeping is required to keep to the 7 minutes each and the whole thing takes 15 minutes.
An example that will spark ideas for your organization is a list of 7x7 Board Briefings given at one AIDS organization, each by a board member:
- A marketing executive at a bank gave a presentation on marketing principles that the board and staff should know when planning awareness campaigns.
- A doctor told the moving story of working with his first AIDS patient.
- A pharmaceuticals manager used PowerPoint to present on trends in the drug industry and what impacts they might have on patients
- A client told about her experiences using the services of the organization, with both praise and problems
- A major donor (to this organization and to others) talked about how he and other wealthy individuals have similar -- and different -- preferences on how they like to be approached and recognized
Several problems get solved in one fell swoop with the 7 x 7 ("seven by seven") Board . . .