Pardon the pun, but a boardroom can be a deadly place, especially when you're there for the wrong reasons. It often begins with the thought, "I want to improve my network and get more business, so I should probably join a nonprofit board." From there its quorums and subcommittee meetings and fundraisers and more fundraisers.
And while board participation often provides access to accomplished business leaders, invitations to posh events, a feeling of fulfillment, and an altruistic afterthought for the last sentence of your bio, there's no guarantee that you'll get any real business out of it. So getting involved for the wrong reasons will quickly find you "board to death."
I recently interviewed networking and PR maven Carl Terzian for my Practice Boomers program. Carl has helped populate thousands of boards over the many years of his practice and he had a lot to say on the subject. Click the "play" button below to hear an excerpt.
So, if you're going to get involved with a board (or any group of professionals for that matter), you'll find that the old adage is still relevant: "You get out of it what you put into it." Make sure you're genuinely interested in the cause, and put in the extra effort to leverage the opportunity that board participation offers. Because the alternative is deadly.