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One of the most challenging aspects of being on the board of your homeowners association (HOA) can be running board meetings. It’s not always easy to keep everyone tuned into the business at hand. In addition, you have to manage the inevitable disagreements among board members. How do you keep these meetings running smoothly?

Not to worry! We’ve put together five guidelines for making your meetings more productive. You’ll find even more tips in our complimentary infographic, “Six Principles for a Better Board Meeting,” which you can download simply by filling out the form below.

1) Follow “parliamentary procedure.”
Following parliamentary procedure means abiding by certain established meeting rules. With HOAs, these are outlined in your bylaws and include standard protocols, such as providing notice of the meeting, creating an agenda, calling the meeting to order, requiring a quorum, and voting on motions. If your bylaws don’t provide enough specifics, get your guidance from Robert’s Rules of Order, a commonly used book on parliamentary procedure.

2) Focus on your agenda.
Sticking to your agenda keeps discussions on track and reminds board members of your objectives. If you are working with a management company, you’ll want your community manager to be present so they can help you redirect any discussions that go off course.

3) Establish action items and responsibilities.
Board members should come out of meetings knowing what action needs to be taken, who needs to take it and when it needs to be done. Reiterating the list of action items at the end of your meeting will help ensure that you haven’t overlooked any important tasks.

4) Beware of time drains.
Ideally, board meetings should last about 60 – 90 minutes at most. However, sometimes a board member will become so impassioned about a topic that he or she will want to discuss it endlessly. To prevent this from happening, focus on creating a list of action items about the issue and assigning responsibility for each item. Reassure the member that the issue is being recorded in the minutes.

5) Manage disagreements by remaining neutral.
It’s inevitable that board members will have different opinions. In fact, these differences are usually an asset for a board. On the other hand, if these differences lead to heated emotions, refrain from taking sides. If you are working with a community management company, your manager should have the experience to help defuse the situation. Get their help to find common ground for the disagreeing members.

Remember: Everyone in your HOA benefits when your meetings run smoothly. Follow these basic tips, and your board will be well on its way toward holding more effective and productive meetings.
 
Wednesday April 11, 2018