[ Blog/News ]
One Hour Board Meeting – Fact or Fiction?
I have heard they are out there — the elusive and desired one hour board meeting. But I wonder – are they real? And if so, does any business actually get done during this hour? Or is everything tabled until the next meeting?
Honestly, I know they can happen and have actually experienced a few of them, but for them to happen at every meeting is an unrealistic expectation.
Below are some tried and true tips that, while they might not land you the elusive and desired one hour board meeting, they can help guide you through a quicker and more productive meeting.
Prepare: Make sure you are prepared for the board meeting. Read any reports and financial statements before the day of (or at) the meeting. Some board members may be asking why this is mentioned – but for those of you who sit down to a board meeting and open your board packet for the first time – you know why. Nothing wastes more time than having to wait for board members to read a 90 page report during the meeting. Running in a close second are the questions that are answered in the packet, that if it had been read before… well, you get the idea.
Ask Ahead: Ask any questions BEFORE the meeting – Especially if you want the answer by/for the meeting. Contact your Community Association Manager, Board Secretary, Treasurer, etc… and ask ahead. It will be appreciated.
Stick to Business: I definitely want to hear what happened to your son, daughter, grandchild, spouse, etc. that made you laugh so hard you cried, but if it doesn’t pertain to the meeting, don’t bring it up at the meeting. Having a social gathering before or after the board meeting is a great way to develop a strong community and a more appropriate time to tell that funny story. Go through the agenda and discuss each item, but stick to the agenda and don’t get sidetracked on items not related to the issues at hand.
Time Limits: Add time limits to each discussion. Prepare ahead by providing a timed agenda before the meeting. Give each person a short period of time (3 – 5 minutes) to discuss the issue and stick to it. Most meetings last longer than needed because a subject is discussed in length and the same points are repeated unnecessarily. Use time limits during Homeowner Forums as well. A good rule of thumb is to have owners sign-in listing the subject they wish to discuss – then listen. If questions are asked, let the owner(s) know that the board will research the answer and respond to them after the board meeting or at the next board meeting.
Be On Time: It is important that owners know you take your responsibility as a board member seriously. Of course, emergencies happen, but try to arrive at least 10 minutes early to get organized and settled in to your seat. Look over your report and make sure you have all of the documents you need for the meeting.
Don’t Take It Personally: This can be the most difficult for everyone and can take up a large portion of the meeting if handled incorrectly. When an owner is upset about an action they disagree with, they can come to a Board meeting ready for attack. When we feel like we are being personally attacked, we become defensive and engage the outraged person. Instead of going in to battle, sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and listen. Hard as this may sound, sometimes the outraged person just needs to vent and if someone listens, they feel like their concerns have been heard. This is not to say that they should be allowed to verbally abuse the board, manager or other owners – Only given their 3 – 5 minutes to speak and be heard.
So, whether the one hour board meeting ends up being fact or fiction for you, using some of the simple tools above will definitely get you started in the right direction. And who knows, maybe you will prove wrong those who believe they are a myth!
By Sandy Cobb, CMCA, AMS
Community Association Manager