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THE HONEYMOON NEVER HAS TO END: How to Keep Your Board Happy and Productive

You?ve been courted for months by an organization that wants you on its board.
Finally, you?ve said ?yes.?
Everyone?s happy, expecting a long, contented life together.
Then reality sets in.
You walk into your first board meeting.
Everyone knows everybody - except you.

Even people who aren't shy know how uncomfortable it can feel to walk into a room of strangers. Yet many non-profits don't recognize that a key ingredient in building a dynamic, productive board is helping people feel comfortable.

The process of board-bonding is all-important, and it has to begin with a new board member's very first meeting. Here's some advice for the board president on building that bond:

1. Reinforce the Players' Names.
To feel comfortable, you first need to know the players' names. Much anxiety goes out the window if board members wear name tags at all meetings. If you sit at a table, you can each have a folded sheet of cardboard in front of you, bearing your name. These "plaques" are even easier to read than name tags.

Another way to reinforce people's names is with repeated introductions. It's useful to begin each meeting by introducing all board members by name, professional affiliation, and board function. When new people are coming to a meeting, designate someone to greet them at the door and introduce everyone.

A key ingredient in building a dynamic,
productive boardis helping people
feel comfortable.

2. Have an Agenda.
The next aspect of comfort is knowing what is going to happen at the meeting. Every boar...

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