A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook admitted that her chamber is considering opening up chamber board meetings to members.
If you have been considering the same, before you do so, you might want to follow the advice of the chamber pros.
Opening Up Chamber Board Meetings
Ask yourself these questions before changing your meetings:
Why do you want to open them up? Have you had members inquiring? Do you think it would be meaningful or engage more people? If you have several members who have been interested in the board meetings, you could invite them as guests or better yet, use it as a springboard for a discussion on getting them more involved so their voice can be heard.
When should they be invited? Should you make every board meeting open to members or just a few a year? Should you give anyone the opportunity at any time as long as they advise you in enough time to get on the agenda? Or do you make the first 15 minutes open and then closed session after that? There are a lot of variations you can choose without making every meeting open to the public.
Are there things that your board discusses that are sensitive in nature? If there are, how will that be handled? Will you have to host an additional chamber board meeting, kick everyone out, or table the topic for a time when no one shows up? Decide what you will do when sensitive information is being shared or debated.
The Moultrie-Colquitt Chamber of Commerce in Georgia combines a lot of opportunities into one. They have an open board meeting once a quarter that is a luncheon that members can attend for $10. New members get some time to introduce themselves and talk about their business. The chamber’s attendance has been rising and they now get about 65 people at this quarterly event.
If you’re considering open chamber board meetings, keep these questions in mind. Your board is a very important part of your chamber and encouraging members to become more involved in their meetings, may help you scout future leaders.
Our 10 Key Components of Board Development is another great resource. Download it for free today.