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Board Culture

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Association’s Next Board Meeting

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With the hoped-for return to in-person meetings in 2022, we talk with Discover The Palm Beaches about how to maximize engagement and productivity for your board’s next gathering.

Your board of directors doesn’t meet often—likely once a quarter—so making that time a great and productive experience matters. A critical element is engagement, both with one another and the work at hand.

“While business insights take place in the boardroom, meaningful connections and ideas can be sparked in a variety of unique local settings, like a sea turtle conservation facility or the International Polo Club,” says Kelly Cavers, senior vice president for group sales and destination services for Discover The Palm Beaches.

In an evolving COVID-19 pandemic landscape, we talked with Cavers to identify ways to make your next board meeting a success as its members reunite away from their computer screens once again.

Tip 1: Infuse Your Meeting With Local Touches

Your between-the-sessions time can help foster connection through shared experiences, piquing attendees’ curiosity, encouraging innovative thinking, and generating conversation that naturally improves serious discussions too, Cavers says.

Infusing meetings with local touches—whether through interactions with community and business leaders, food and beverage, or arts and culture—can provide attendees a true feel for and appreciation of the place they’re meeting. “These types of experiences positively impact attendees in a way that helps to reinforce the insights gained in the meeting,” she says.

Only in The Palm Beaches: The Palm Beaches are home to an array of artisanal coffee roasters. How about awakening attendees with an on-demand coffee experience from a local roaster who can also share stories of growing a small business?

Infusing meetings with local touches—whether through interactions with community and business leaders, food and beverage, or arts and culture—can provide attendees a true feel for and appreciation of the place they’re meeting.

Tip 2: Think Outcomes in Advance

There can be a tendency for board meetings to become rote experiences. But it doesn’t have to be that way, Cavers says.

Instead, work back from the desired goals that the association has for the board meeting, she advises. Then, share what constitutes a successful meeting with the destination marketing organization early in the planning phases.
“For example, if your goal is raising funds, or increasing diversity initiatives, or membership acquisition and retention, how can we help support that?” Cavers says. “Do we have local thought leaders or business partners we can bring in as speakers? Is there an industry-relevant tour or activity locally we can help you arrange?”

Only in The Palm Beaches: The area is home to numerous nonprofits and businesses, offering the opportunity to get hands-on to learn what works, say for fundraising at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary or developing eco-friendly messaging at Swank Speciality Produce.

Tip 3: Add Local Experts to the Conversation

“Time is valuable and in short supply—for business event professionals and their boards,” Cavers says. “The board is often looking for high-level thought leadership and new ways of reaching its goals.”

Because boards must critically evaluate the future strategy of the associations they advise, bringing in business and community leaders aligned to an organization’s mission can jumpstart discussion and offer fresh perspectives to a board meeting, she suggests.

“It’s important to find partners who are as committed to your meeting goals and successes as you are, to help activate the perfect community relationships to impact the meetings and increase board engagement,” Cavers says.

Only in The Palm Beaches: Discover The Palm Beaches can tap a wide array of local experts and Destination Champions, from Ellen Latham, co-founder of Orangetheory Fitness, and Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of the Palm Health Foundation, to Matthew Hoffman, president and CEO of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of South Florida, and Ava L. Parker, president of Palm Beach State College.

Tip 4: Take Advantage of Your Setting to Be Outside

Many boards have not met in person now for nearly two years. With the possibility of continued COVID-19 variants, the ability to provide adequate social distancing space and also outdoor venues for meeting and between-the-sessions experiences is more critical than ever.

Think about how to make the most of your destination to ensure that your board members feel at ease about meeting in person again. Yes, that’s often done through unique breaks or post-session events, but it’s also possible to use the right destination to allow even some serious meeting elements to take place in outdoor settings.

“More than ever, planners are looking for outdoor spaces, creative team-building activities and offerings that inspire attendees and encourage connection during the event and in their free time,” Cavers says.

Only in The Palm Beaches: Create a unique volunteer and team-building opportunity like a beach cleanup, experience a sea turtle release at Loggerhead Marinelife Center or host an evening gathering in Norton Museum of Art’s outdoor sculpture garden set in a botanical oasis.

Beyond the insights and connections gained within the boardroom, The Palm Beaches take care of the rest with inspiring venues, unique opportunities to connect, and Between-The-Sessions experiences that set meetings apart. Visit www.thepalmbeaches.com/meetings.

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