Top 12 Tips to Achieving the One Hour HOA Board Meeting
We understand what it is like. You work all day, you are tired, hungry, look forward to going home and being with your loved ones, but wait, you have that association board meeting tonight! The thought of a meeting that drones on for hours with little productivity does not appeal, now does it? Well, you can trust me when I say, it need not be that way!
Yes, the one hour board meeting is a reality and it can be yours! Just by following a few simple and practical tips, your HOA board meetings can be the most efficient and effective meetings possible!
1. First and foremost, keep in mind that a board meeting is the time for making decisions, not for lengthy discussions. How do you make decisions without lengthy discussions? Just read on ….
2. You can make decisions without lengthy discussions by reviewing the meeting packet well in advance of the meeting. The Community Association Manager is responsible for sending a board meeting packet to the Board at least 3-7 days before the board meeting. The Board should read the information contained in the packet so they can come to the meeting prepared to conduct business and make decisions based on its content. If any of the information is inconclusive, the Board has ample opportunity to ask the questions they need answered ahead of time. The Community Association Manager can do the necessary research, bring the answers to the meeting, thereby allowing the board to make a decision right then and there.
3. If your state has open meeting notice requirements, make sure meeting notices are sent out timely to avoid having to cancel and reschedule meetings that were not properly noticed.
4. The board president and the Community Association Manager should keep in mind that they are responsible for assuring board meetings are well organized, stay on topic, and begin and end on time. Occasionally they may find the need to curtail a conversation that is going nowhere and bring everyone’s attention back to the task at hand.
5. Decide ahead of time who is taking the minutes. Typically this is done by the board secretary. (Remember to only include decisions made, not discussions.) There is nothing worse than getting half way through your meeting and realize that no one was taking minutes!
6. Stick to the Agenda. Start on time. Include time allotments for each agenda item with a set start and end point. Don’t allow people to wander off topic. Remind attendees of time constraints. Table items when it becomes evident a decision cannot be reached. Remember, the meeting is for decision making; if you can’t make a decision without more information, it’s time to move on!
7. Follow Roberts Rules of Order. While you don’t need to be overly formal, following basic parliamentary procedures (when and how to make a motion, when to call the questions, etc.) will help keep the meeting on track.
8. Having trouble scheduling your board meetings due to everyone’s varying schedules? The most efficient method to scheduling board meetings is to schedule them all at the beginning of the year. Once that is done, expectations are set, and everyone can schedule their other obligations around the pre-scheduled board meetings. Doesn’t that sounds much easier than going round and round with e-mails trying to coordinate 3, 5, 7 or more peoples schedules at random times? If you absolutely cannot set a schedule for the year, then at a very minimum, schedule your next board meeting at the conclusion of the current meeting while everyone is still gathered together.
9. Boards should hold board meetings as often as necessary to conduct business and/or conform to legal requirements. If you find business decisions piling up, and you don’t have pre-scheduled meetings, it might be time to pull out the calendar and get one scheduled.
10. Financial reports are provided either in advance of the meeting or in the meeting packet. These reports should be reviewed by the Treasurer in advance so that he or she may provide a Treasurer’s Report at the meeting.
11. Research has proven that after two hours, especially at the end of an already long day, human attention tends to wane at an evening board meeting. It is therefore best not to let board meetings run past two hours maximum.
12. The ideal place to conduct a board meeting is a conference room. Restaurants can be too noisy, and leaves potential for confidential conversations to be overheard. Board member homes often don’t provide adequate space to spread out documents and establish a business setting. Outdoor amenity features are unreliable, as weather issues and/or pests can cause a meeting to halt abruptly or to have to be canceled and rescheduled.
THIS NOT THAT!
Once your business is concluded, summarize any action items to assure everyone is on the same page, and there are no misunderstandings about what follow up action is to be done, and by whom.
Homeowners Association (HOA) management is the complex set of responsibilities and tasks associated with running a successful community association. RealManage has a wealth of experience and talent covering the full range of challenges that associations face including board meetings. If your association is in need of community management services, contact RealManage today.