→ Save Your Spot! Our Free Webinar: Reduce org-wide meeting time and increase your productivity. Sign Up now

How To Run An Emergency Board Meeting

For an emergency board meeting, quickly establish a clear agenda, communicate effectively with all participants in advance, identify and focus on critical issues, ensure prompt decision-making, and document all actions taken.

An Emergency Board Meeting is a suddenly called, unplanned meeting of the board of directors of a company or an organization to address and discuss urgent, critical issues or crises that may significantly impact the company. It is called outside of the regular, scheduled board meetings, and requires prompt attention and decision-making. Issues discussed may include financial crises, legal disputes, sudden changes in management, unexpected business opportunities, or other emergencies that demand immediate board-level discussion and action.

What is the purpose of a Emergency Board Meeting?

The purpose of running an emergency board meeting as a leader is to address urgent and critical matters that require immediate attention and decision-making. It allows leaders to gather key stakeholders, discuss the situation, and make timely decisions to resolve the issue at hand, ensuring the effective functioning and stability of the organization.

How To Run An Emergency Board Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Identify the Need for an Emergency Board Meeting

Understanding and identifying the necessity for an emergency board meeting is crucial. This type of meeting is reserved for urgent matters that necessitate swift action or deliberation. If an issue arises and cannot be deferred until the next routine meeting, initiating an emergency board meeting ensures timely decision-making and swift action.

Next Step

Step 2: Consultation with Board Members

Reaching out to all board members to arrange a meeting time that suits everyone is necessary. Due to the urgency of the matter, achieving unanimous availability might be challenging, however, it’s crucial to try and accommodate as many people as possible. The aim is to ensure maximal participation, therefore, each member’s schedules should be taken into consideration to increase the chances of full attendance.

Next Step

Step 3: Develop and Distribute the Agenda

When preparing for an urgent meeting, it’s crucial to create a focused, concise, and clear agenda highlighting the emergency at hand. This becomes the roadmap directing the conversation. Ensure you distribute this to all board members ahead of time. This preemptive move allows them to understand the issues under discussion, strategize ahead, and come to the meeting equipped with valuable insights, enabling a productive and effective meeting session.

Our application, ZipDo, transforms your calendar by importing meetings into a collaborative environment designed for team interaction. Here, a collective meeting agenda is developed, encouraging input from all team members. This approach fosters better-prepared meetings, enhancing efficiency and easing the burden of meeting preparation and follow-up.


Want to run a better meeting? Try ZipDo, our Meeting Note Software.

  • Connect your Google Calendar
  • Automatically create a note for every meeting
  • Organize your meetings and meeting notes in a channel like Slack
Try ZipDo free
Next Step

Step 4: Notify All Parties

Make certain that all necessary stakeholders, encompassing employees, shareholders, and not limited to the board members, are well-informed about the upcoming meeting. It’s important to distinctly highlight the urgency behind the meeting, maintaining confidentiality and refraining from divulging any sensitive data.

Next Step

Step 5: Prepare Necessary Materials

Collect and distribute all essential materials and documents via email to the board members in advance of the meeting. This preemptive measure allows members ample time for review, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the topics at hand, thereby expediting and streamlining the decision-making process within the meeting session.

ZipDo, our app, streamlines team meeting preparations by centralizing information from past sessions. As a meeting lead, you gain easy access to previous agendas and notes for recurring meetings, greatly reducing preparation time. This centralized approach ensures comprehensive coverage of all critical topics.

Next Step

Step 6: Conduct the Meeting

Adhere strictly to the agenda and respect time limits, particularly in emergency meetings which typically necessitate brief, concise exchanges. Promote structured dialogue to ensure clarity of information and active participation. Meticulously document all decisions made during the meeting to provide a clear reference point and to ensure accountability.

Next Step

Step 7: Document and Communicate the Outcome

Documenting the decisions made or actions taken during the meeting with utmost detail is a crucial practice. This comprehensive report must be shared promptly with board members and other crucial stakeholders once the meeting concludes. This immediate sharing of information ensures effective communication, allows time for feedback and questions, and helps with the timely implementation of the agreed upon decisions. This practice promotes transparency and keeps everyone updated, aiding in the smooth running of operations.

Next Step

Step 8: Follow Up Actions

During this meeting, any agreed-upon actions or decisions need to be applied urgently to remain aligned with our goals. The diligence to monitor this implementation process is crucial, promptly sharing any updates, and swiftly making any alterations that were suggested during the meeting discussion.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What is the current status of the emergency situation? (To gain a clear understanding of the situation at hand and evaluate the urgency of the matter)

2. What are the potential risks and implications of this emergency? (To assess the potential impact on the organization, its employees, stakeholders, and operations)

3. Do we have a contingency plan in place to address this type of emergency? (To determine if the organization has prepared for such situations and identify any gaps in the existing plan)

4. What resources (financial, human, equipment, etc.) are needed to effectively handle the emergency? (To ensure that the necessary resources are allocated promptly and efficiently)

5. How can we mitigate the immediate impact of the emergency on our stakeholders? (To prioritize the well-being and safety of employees, clients, and the community)

6. What communication strategies should we adopt to keep all stakeholders informed? (To address transparency, avoid rumors, and maintain trust)

7. Who should be responsible for leading the emergency response efforts? (To identify a designated leader or team and establish clear lines of authority and accountability)

8. Are any legal or regulatory requirements associated with this emergency? (To evaluate compliance obligations and ensure all necessary actions are taken)

9. How can we learn from this emergency situation to improve our preparedness for future incidents? (To facilitate a continuous learning culture and implement necessary changes to prevent or mitigate similar emergencies in the future)

10. What is the appropriate timeline for addressing the emergency and when should we reconvene to assess progress? (To establish a timeframe for action and ensure ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the situation)

Note: These questions serve as a starting point and may vary depending on the nature of the emergency and the industry in which the organization operates.

As a leader preparing for an emergency board meeting, it is crucial to create a well-structured agenda. Start by identifying the most pressing issues and outline them in a clear and concise manner. Prioritize the agenda items based on urgency, ensuring that each topic includes objectives and desired outcomes. Lastly, allow sufficient time for discussion and decision-making to effectively address the emergency situation.

How To Prepare For A Emergency Board Meeting
Meeting Preparation Icon

During an emergency board meeting, topics that should be discussed include the immediate crisis at hand, potential solutions and actions to be taken, the allocation of resources, communication strategies, impact analysis, risk assessment, and contingency planning. The focus should be on addressing the urgent situation effectively and efficiently to minimize any negative consequences.

See Our Emergency Board Meeting Template
Meeting Template Icon

Software tools to facilitate a Emergency Board Meeting

Software helps leaders run emergency board meetings efficiently by providing a platform for seamless communication, information sharing, and decision-making. With features like real-time video conferencing, document collaboration, and voting capabilities, leaders can gather the board members quickly to discuss urgent matters, analyze data, and make informed decisions promptly, ensuring effective crisis management and proactive decision-making.

Our Recommendations:


Successfully running an emergency board meeting involves careful preparation, clear communication, and efficient decision-making. Acknowledging that these meetings occur under pressing circumstances, it’s crucial to establish an agenda that addresses the issue at hand directly and purposefully. Remember, concise and open communication can help in swift decision making. By providing all necessary materials ahead of time, focusing on necessary topics, and encouraging respectful yet assertive dialogue, board directors can lead productive emergency meetings. Lastly, always ensure to follow-up and monitor the implementation of decisions made. With these steps in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the turbulence of emergency board meetings with confidence and efficiency.

Jannik Lindner

I'm Jannik and I write on MeetingFever about the experiences from my career as a founder and team lead.

If you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn.

Popular Questions

What constitutes the need for an emergency board meeting?

An emergency board meeting is typically called when there is an urgent matter that requires immediate attention and decision-making by the board members. This could involve issues such as significant financial discrepancies, legal troubles, sudden resignation of a key employee, or any crisis that significantly impacts the organization.

How is an emergency board meeting convened?

An emergency board meeting is convened following the organization’s bylaws, which generally specify who can call such a meeting, how much notice must be given, and how the notice should be delivered to all involved parties. Typically, the Chairperson or a significant number of board members can call for an emergency meeting.

What is the required quorum for an emergency board meeting?

The quorum for an emergency board meeting would depend on the organization’s bylaws. Usually, a quorum requires more than half of the board members to be present. If the required number is not met, the meeting cannot make legal decisions.

How should minutes be taken during an emergency board meeting?

The process for taking minutes during an emergency board meeting should not differ greatly from a regular board meeting. A designated individual should capture key discussion points, decisions made, motions proposed and passed, and any actions to be taken, including who is responsible for those actions. Following the meeting, these minutes should be distributed to all board members for review and approval.

What is the usual agenda for an emergency board meeting?

The agenda for an emergency board meeting typically includes an opening, a statement explaining the need for an emergency meeting, discussions related to the crisis at hand, and decision-making based on the problem. Then, it proceeds to evaluate potential immediate actions, agrees on a follow-up plan, and finally, it ends with an adjournment. Despite the urgency, order and clarity are still needed to ensure effective decision-making.

Get free access to our meeting webinar

By submitting the form you are subscribing to our newsletter. Our newsletter contains information about new blog articles, other offers, tips and promotions from MeetingFever. You can unsubscribe at any time. Information on data protection, revocation, performance measurement and logging can be found in our privacy policy.