I've just returned from an Inaugural CAB Meeting for a European division of one of our top clients. One of their biggest concerns going into the meeting was that the group may not "gel" or warm-up to one another right away and it may take some time for them to really start talking. As it turned out, this was not the case at all - they engaged in healthy dialog even before the first session officially began!
One of our best practices to ensure attendees "get connected" is to have a welcome reception the evening prior to the meeting kick-off. This affords the opportunity for everyone meet one another in a casual atmosphere and to converse about both business and personal interests. It also gives the host and facilitators an opportunity to hear what members' expectations are or perhaps a hot topic they've recently been challenged to address. It's good to get these "tidbits" and weave them into the meeting where possible (as long as it's relevant to the collective group).
The feedback from the European group was excellent! They were not at all shy on providing input, advice and participating in the sessions and breakout group activities. We look forward to the between-meeting conversations with them and planning for Meeting Two!