Attend any HOA board meeting, and you’ll notice how different every board member and resident is. When it comes to your community, everyone brings their own set of opinions and preferences to the table. And while having a unique group of people with different backgrounds and viewpoints can be a great thing for your community, it may also lead to unproductive meetings and in some cases, conflict.
Your first step toward more cohesive board meetings is to enlist the help of your community management company. An experienced community management company can help you develop a great vision and give you the tools and resources to improve your board meetings. Better board meetings can play an important role in unifying your community, boosting its reputation in the market and ultimately enhancing resident lifestyles and property values.
By implementing a few principles before and during your association board meetings, you can make vast improvements to your meetings.
Read more in the article below, and fill out the form on this page to download a free, printable guide: “Six Principles for a Better Board Meeting.” By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to board meeting success.
Do: Plan ahead
As with most things in life, planning ahead is always a good idea. Before your meeting begins, review the agenda and any other need-to-know information. An accessible and responsive community manager, properly supported with the right resources from a great community management company, can develop an effective agenda for you. At FirstService Residential, community managers typically send out a board packet about five days before the meeting. This packet often includes the meeting agenda, suggested motions and answers to frequently asked questions. Plan to review this information before the meeting so that you’re prepared to tackle any important topics that may arise.
Do: Be professional
Take a deep breath and repeat the old adage, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Occasionally, board meetings can get heated because people are passionate about their communities. In any case, it’s best to treat your position as you would a job. If you don’t think you would bring something up in a business meeting, don’t bring it up in an HOA board meeting. To make sure you and your fellow board members are on the same page, make sure that you and your board members understand the basic meeting structure and procedures involved (e.g., making and seconding motions). You will want to work with an experienced community management company that can help you get additional training on board meeting procedures and communication tactics.
Do: Keep it concise
Who likes long meetings? Spoiler alert: No one! This is especially the case with board meetings, where long meetings can often hinder decision-making. That’s why you should aim to keep the meeting at about 45 to 60 minutes. By planning ahead and staying under an hour, you’ll be able to keep the meeting productive. To create a brief but effective agenda, you’ll need to work directly with your community manager. And your community manager should have the support and resources they need in order to help you.
Don’t: Get emotional
If you’ve been a volunteer board member for any amount of time, you know how easily a board meeting can become grounds for a personal venting session. To help combat these situations, it’s helpful to place some limitations on topics and speakers. For example, you may want to limit an individual’s time speaking on a topic to a maximum of three minutes. A well-trained community manager can help you put together proper guidelines for board meetings and facilitate them.
Don’t: Forget the rules
Board members and residents alike are held to a code of conduct that should be outlined in your governing documents. These policies are designed to ensure a respectful and courteous environment. Your board’s code of conduct should include time limitations on speakers and identify who can attend and speak at meetings, among other policies. If you don’t have a code of conduct, your community management company should be able to help you both develop and enforce one.
Don’t: Tune out
As a rule of thumb, listen more than you speak. Often, board members and residents just want to be heard and valued. Even if you don’t fully agree with what an individual has to say, you should actively listen to their concerns and opinions.
Without a doubt, HOA board meetings play an important role in your community, but they are often bogged down by conflicting opinions and differing personalities. Following these do’s and don’ts can help you avoid common roadblocks and hold more successful and productive board meetings.
A smooth and productive board meeting can go a long way in setting up your community for success. By improving your board meetings, you’ll effectively help enhance your association’s reputation and strengthen your community’s relevance in the changing market. It’s important to partner with an experienced and knowledgeable community management company that can help you develop helpful guidelines and establish best practices in order to reach those goals.