Successful HOA board meetings are inclusive, timely, and respectful. But unfortunately, board meetings can often last much longer than everyone anticipated, which can be frustrating for everyone. Here are 5 tips to help keep your meetings concise.
1. Have an Agenda (and Stick to It!)
A detailed agenda will clearly organize your meeting and set expectations about what will be discussed. You can even allot time frames for each topic. It’s important to remind board members that these meetings are meant for decision-making. (We’d love to hear about your newly-trained squirrel, Darrell...but maybe at the summer picnic instead.)
2. Spread the Hot Topics Out
You know what they are. Every year it’s the same four or five topics that double the meeting crowds and thus the length of the meeting. Remember that these are Board Meetings...owners' input on each topic is not necessary and shouldn’t necessarily be permitted. A line-item for “Open Forum” can be included on the agenda to allow each attendee a designated amount of time (for instance, three minutes each) to ask questions and speak. This allows the meeting to run on time and to keep it fair for all in attendance. Spread them out and plan accordingly. Perhaps quarterly you know it’s hot topic time again, so why not switch to a lunch meeting rather holding the meeting on a Thursday night when everyone is tired from a long day at work?
3. The President Is in Charge
Remind the Board President of their very important role in guiding the meeting, keeping it on topic, and tackling each agenda item in a timely manner. This will sometimes require using their best judgment on when to table a subject. If something seems to be a hotter topic than expected or there isn’t enough information to make an informed decision, treat it as such, and carve out the appropriate time for the next meeting to tackle it. Move on instead of discussing it to death without coming to a decision. Also be sure you’ve read your management report and have asked management any follow-up questions prior to the meetings so you come prepared to make an informed decision.
4. Meeting Minutes
Assign one individual to keep detailed meeting minutes. This would typically be the Secretary’s responsibility, or it may be included in your management contract for an Association Business Manager to take the minutes. When questions arise about decisions made at the meeting, they can easily be referenced or quickly answered. Minutes should clearly record the decisions made by the board and made available to owners (typically on an owner portal) after they are approved at the following board meeting.
5. Embrace Technology
No matter when the meeting is held, it is not going to work for someone. One upside of the pandemic has been the ability to navigate virtually in a much more broad and approachable way. Not everyone will want to “tune in,” but having the ability to do so allows for more participation that wasn’t available previously. By utilizing hand raising and muting features in a digital meeting, it also allows for more control over the attendees if they are out of order. It also removes in-person tensions when there are attendees that do not follow the set rules of the meetings.
Let’s face it. In today’s world, we are all busier than ever. Try utilizing these tools to keep your meetings running smoothly!