Since you’re a condominium board member, chances are you’re probably kept pretty busy. Chances are you manage being busy pretty well. But chances are, there’s an area where a little improvement would make your role so much easier.
We’re talking about communication. And it’s not just you – it’s everyone. When we enhance our communication, conducting business becomes easier. It’s that simple. And while communication is a science all its own, we can boil down improving it into a few quick tips.
  1. Transparency first.
While some matters are private – say your condominium corporation is facing litigation, or you’re dealing with residents’ private information – most matters should be handled out in the open. Your actions, and those of the entire board, should always be transparent. This gives everyone on your condo board access to all of the relevant information, which helps them fulfill their duties with greater effectiveness. Sometimes technology can help with this, such as an online community portal or management reports. You can talk to a condominium management company if you’re interested in that kind of tech-driven support.
  1. Introduce protocols.
Open communication is a good thing, but if it’s not controlled, it can result in chaos. That’s why it’s best to create a chain of communication, such as committee members who report to a committee chair, and a committee chair who reports to a specific condo board member (or even the board as a whole). Same goes for communication with a condo manager if you happen to have one. It’s best to task a single board member with the responsibility of communicating with that individual. It’s important to note that this role is that of a point person, not a decision-maker. Information should always be relayed to the entire condominium board.
  1. Over-sharing beats under-sharing.
So you might be wondering how much information should be divulged to residents. When it comes to keeping them informed, a general rule is “the more the better.” Of course, there is a balance – you don’t want to flood anyone with flyers or emails, but by the same token, you don’t want any residents feeling left out of the loop. This is especially true for upcoming activities and maintenance projects. You’ll find some of this information is critical (parking changes due to roadwork) and some of it is just good to know (like an upcoming community activity). In either case, information has a way of bringing people together and creating a sense of community. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your resident communications, you can always enlist the help of a good condo management company that can create an online resident portal that puts all the information literally at their fingertips.
  1. It’s all about accountability.
Bureaucracy is a barrier that nobody gets to hide behind – that goes for your condo board and your community manager, if you have one. As board members, you were all elected to perform specific functions, and every member should be held to task to fulfill those functions to the best of his or her ability. As for your community manager, he or she should have a clearly defined role that is understood by all (including the board). Accountability has a way of fostering open communication – and that means a more effective board.
Make no mistake, communication can be challenging. And it always will be. But by remembering to stay transparent, keep the flow organized, provide ample info to residents, and keep everyone accountable, you’ll minimize confusion and maximize your results. For more communication tips, contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s condo management leader.
Tuesday May 10, 2016