Think everyone has similar opinions and viewpoints? Participate in an HOA board meeting, and you’ll think otherwise. The truth is every community is full of many types of people, with diverse opinions and backgrounds. And while having different personalities in a community is a wonderful thing, it can also lead to some strong opinions and potentially unproductive board meetings. That’s why it’s important to partner with an experienced community management company that can provide you and your community manager with the tools and resources needed to establish best practices that lead to better board meetings.
Improving your board meetings plays a crucial role in building up your association’s reputation, relevance in the market, which ultimately helps enhance resident life and property values. To review some best practices, read our list of best practices below and fill out the form on this page to download a printable guide, “Six Principles for a Better Board Meeting.”
1. Do your homework
Just like in school, a little study prep goes a long way. About a week before your next board meeting, you should review any need-to-know information so that you’re ready to tackle any important topics that may arise. A knowledgeable community management company will facilitate this step by providing your community manager with the resources and support they require. For example, at FirstService Residential, the standard is for community managers to send out a board packet approximately five days before the meeting. The packet will typically include a meeting agenda, answers to commonly asked questions and suggested motions.
2. Enter “business mode”
Always be professional. Approach your position on the HOA board as you would any job. For instance, if you wouldn’t say something at a business meeting, don’t bring it up in an HOA board meeting. To ensure that you and your fellow board members are on the same page, take steps to understand the basic meeting structure and procedures involved (like making and seconding motions). An experienced community management company will facilitate additional training for you, your board and your community manager, on important topics like board meeting procedures and resident communication.
3. Cut it down
Board meeting or “bored” meeting? No one wants to endure a long, tedious meeting, even when it involves their community. When it comes to HOA board meetings in particular, long meetings can often impede good decision-making. That’s why you should aim to keep the meeting to a maximum of one hour. Your community manager and community management company should provide your board with the support and resources needed to help keep your meetings concise and productive.
4. Save your venting
A great board meeting can lose steam if it plays host to a long venting session from a board member or resident. While it’s important to be passionate about your community, you should place some limitations on topics and speakers so you have some parameters in place. A good best practice is to limit an individual’s time speaking on one topic to three minutes. A well-trained community manager can help you put together some helpful parameters and best practices for your next board meeting. More importantly, they can also employ these tactics while facilitating the meeting.
5. Follow the rules
All HOA boards should adhere to a code of conduct that is outlined in your governing documents. Having a code of conduct in place prior to board meetings helps ensure a respectful, courteous and engaging environment. The code of conduct may include time limitations on speakers and it will often identify who can attend and speak at meetings. A knowledgeable community management company can help you develop and enforce a solid code of conduct that checks all the right boxes.
6. Listen up
Actively listening goes a long way with your fellow board members and residents. By making a concerted effort to listen more than you speak, you’ll gain favor with your board and the community at large. Board members and residents often just want to be heard and valued, even if they don’t get their way in the end. By actively listening to them, you are displaying genuine respect and appreciations for their concerns.
Your association relies on quality board meetings in order to make your job as a volunteer board member easier and get decisions made quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, conflicting personalities and different opinions can often bog down a meeting, which can lead to less-effective meetings and a stagnant reputation in your community.
Partnering with an experienced community management company and implementing these best practices can result in more successful and productive board meetings, helping boost your reputation and relevance in the marketplace. It can also enhance the resident experience and property values.