When your board gets together, you want to be sure that you accomplish everything on the agenda and that as many voices are heard as possible. Whether you're just getting started in your HOA or you're concerned that your meetings aren't as productive as you'd like, these tips will help you have successful HOA board meetings, increasing your productivity and making it easier for you to meet your goals as a homeowner's association.
Tip #1: Prepare Ahead of Time
You can't rush into a meeting, sit down around a table or in a handful of chairs, and simply hope that things will happen the way they need to. Instead, take the time to prepare ahead of time for your meeting. Ask several key questions:
- What needs to happen during the meeting?
- If you have a presentation to make or something that needs to be said, how will you say it? Take the time to put your thoughts together clearly so that you can focus on presenting them during the meeting.
- Who needs to be present in order for the meeting to be successful? If the majority of the board doesn't show up or you're missing someone with key decision-making power, how will you proceed?
- What questions may arise as a result of items presented during the meeting? How many of them can you answer ahead of time?
By thinking through the meeting ahead of time, you will be more in control during the meeting itself--not to mention better prepared to handle any challenges that might come up during the meeting.
Tip #2: Create an Agenda
When you sit down at the meeting, does everyone know what's expected to happen? Take the time to create an agenda that details everything that you'd like to accomplish during the meeting. Refer to that agenda for things like who has the floor next, what issues you need to cover, and who needs to have the floor. It can also be helpful to refer back to the agenda if you're struggling to get things done during the meeting.
Tip #3: Get Homeowner Participation
The entire point of your HOA board is to represent the homeowners--which can be very difficult if you don't have homeowner participation! Encourage homeowners to attend board meetings and vote on issues that have significance to them. In order to get them there, offer:
- Plenty of information about where and when the meeting will take place, preferably far enough in advance that homeowners have time to make plans
- Incentives to show up: food and drink are often a great draw, as are prize drawings or other small incentives for attendance.
- Information about important concerns that will be brought up during the meeting.
Tip #4: Stay On Time
Set specific start and ending times for your meetings, and stick to them! Be respectful of board members' time as well as the time of homeowners who have shown up for the meeting. If there's an agenda in place, make sure that you move through it in a timely manner and cover all the issues that you've promised to discuss--even if that means you have to table the issue and come back to it at another time, especially if you're talking in circles and unable to find a resolution. Sticking to specific starting and ending times will make it more likely that members and homeowners will show up for your HOA board meeting as well as making it more likely that you will accomplish your goals at each meeting.
Holding a successful HOA board meeting will help give members more confidence in what the board can accomplish, offer incentives for board members to show up on time for each meeting, and make your community a better place to live. By following these four key tips, you can host more successful board meetings.