Voting is at the centre of democracy in Board meetings. It can ensure every member of your team has their voice heard and that the best decisions are made. Everyone should come away from the meeting confident with the decisions that have taken place. As a result, you should take every measure possible to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

We’ve put together six tips to improve the efficiency of your internal votes:

  1.       Vote On The Right Issues

The most important part of holding an effective vote is understanding why the vote should take place. It isn’t just about making a show of democracy, but reaping the advantages of the process. Only vote on issues that have been properly debated and that require the approval of the Board.

The important issues should come up in the agenda-building stage of the administrative process. Make sure to frame them in a clear, concise way that is in line with the objectives of the meeting.

  1.       Ensure Everyone Is Informed

From the moment you start to plan the meeting, you should be aware of factors that will impact the vote. One part of this is sending out the Board pack well in advance so everyone has time to read it. Do not let your team show up without the tools to understand the motion.

You also need to make sure the right people are involved in the vote. No one should be present ‘for the sake of it’, or because they have been invited in the past. Don’t let anyone influence the future of your company that you do not trust to make an informed, intelligent decision.

During the meeting, go through the motion several times to check it is clear. Make an attempt to phrase it in multiple different ways, but not so much that it becomes confusing.

  1.       Establish Strong Internal Procedures

Having efficient Boardroom procedures is crucial to ensuring everyone is on the same page. While some systems are more formal than others, a strong framework for posing and evaluating questions can improve your ability to make decisions. One such framework is Roberts Rules, which provides a clear order for making decisions. This sense of order can help everyone feel comfortable with the steps that will be taken.

In this system, voting is the penultimate step. Once the debate has reached a close and all secondary motions have been dealt with, the Chair must ask, “Are you ready for the question?” If no one rises, then the Chair must “put the question” for a vote. The majority rules, with the majority being defined as 2/3rds of those present.

  1.       Encourage Honesty

There is no point in voting if it is simply a formality. Your Board members must do their due diligence and vote in the way they truly believe will be beneficial to the future of the company. If you have spent hours discussing a proposal, it may be tempting to approve it simply because you have become attached to the idea. However, this will not work out in the long run.

If anyone has any doubts as to the proposal, they should feel confident voicing them. Pushing the question to the next meeting may not always be fun, but sometimes it is necessary. If more research is needed, there is no point rushing through a motion that is not fully complete.

One way to check that every outcome is explored is by appointing a member of the team to act as the ‘opposition’. This member will attempt to note every possible drawback of the policy. If these questions can be solved, or at least addressed by the debate, you will have a stronger idea of the benefits of the motion.

  1.       Invest In The Right Software

The old-fashioned way of voting with ayes and noes is no longer the best way of doing business. In the digital age, you can streamline your voting process by making use of technology. With a Board Portal like Convene, you can ensure that all voting is secure and efficient.

Add voting items to your agenda to improve decision-making. Convene allows Board Members to vote remotely, meaning that if a member cannot physically attend, they can still participate.

Our state-of-the-art security is CMMI-Level 5 accredited so you can rest assured your data is given the protection it deserves. Use anonymous voting for sensitive issues, so that everyone feels comfortable.

As well as improving your votes, Convene is designed to support your organisation at every stage of the meeting process. From planning the agenda to creating a secure audit trail, our comprehensive list of features will improve your meetings. To find out more about how Convene can help you, check out our customer success stories or book a free trial today!

Lucy Palmer

Written by Lucy Palmer

Subscribe to the Convene blog to get regular tips and updates on Governance and Digital Transformation!