Posted by

Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

One of the traditional tools at the exhibit managers’ disposal is an advisory board. Boards work to varying degrees to help keep exhibitors engaged, provide feedback and open doors to new possibilities for planning and promotion. But, as anyone who has worked with groups of volunteers knows, effective advisory boards require their own set of rules.

Belgium based blogger and consultant Eric Rozenberg has developed a post titled, 7 ways to make advisory boards work for you.” Some of us may already be following some of his seven but it’s worth reading as a reminder. When you look at the entire list, his premise gets pretty persuasive.

Here’s Eric’s list:

1. Understand why;

According to Eric there are three reasons for forming an advisory board: to use advisors’ contacts to open doors, to deal with specific challenges you face and to grow your exhibition. It’s important to articulate your rationale for forming a board before you start.

2. Identify challenges;

Don’t waste your board members time by having them attend meetings without a clear agenda.

3.  The challenge of nominees;

Diversity of background is helpful to ensure a fresh perspective.

4. Meeting logistics;

Eric suggests someone other that you or one of your staff run the meetings. This often leads to a more open and honest dialogue.

5. Confidentiality;

Identify the need for confidentiality and be assured that each board member will respect  your wishes in this regard.

  1. Listen;

Eric writes, “You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth, use them in proportion.”

7.  Follow-up and implement;

Communicate to board members those issues agreed to at the meeting as well as your on going progress.

These seven steps, while not overly complicated, will help you keep your advisory boards productive.