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  2. The 5-Point 'Look More Pro' Board Meeting Guide

1. It All Starts With The Board Materials and the Pre-Read. They Have to Be Focused, Organized, and Engaging.

As CEO, you have to act as the front-page editor. You set the themes for the team to hit on in their narratives, select the right amount of good news and number of updates, and craft the experience for your readers (the board). Always ensure that you're purposefully driving engagement throughout your content so that there can be plenty of productive banter. 

  • Clearly separate read-ahead materials for calibration from your topics for actual discussion.
  • Everything needs to read like a narrative. Structure your content like a conversation, including What You Need to Know, Highlights, Lowlights, and What's Keeping Me Up at Night.
  • Give supporting documents and reports their rightful place in the materials. This keeps you out of the weeds and reduces the number of 'just to make me look smart' questions.
  • Figure out how to focus on the topics that truly, truly matter. Two Truly’s. Be sure to include the baseline…Has the market changed? Has the team grown? What are the financials like? What are the key takeaways?
  • You and your leadership team should time themselves reading through each section and the full materials. Sections should be no longer than five minutes, and the overall presentation should be less than 45 minutes.
  • Spend time cutting content or moving it to a supporting role in the doc.
  • Design matters. Ensure your communications are well-designed so your content can be consumed quickly and feel more efficient and focused. This also helps readers have better comprehension and retention, and your team is more believable because the authors appear to be more competent and 'pro.'
  • The Dairy Queen near my house doesn’t serve the ice cream cold enough so I always get a blizzard.  But, if I drive another 12 minutes, I go with a medium vanilla cone.

"As the saying goes: 'I must apologize. If I had more time I would have written a shorter note.' Long board decks may seem like you’re being transparent but from my perspective it’s just being lazy."

-Seth Levine, Co-author of The New Builders: Face to Face with the True Future of Business.