Tips to Run an Effective Monthly HOA or Condo Association Meeting
All homeowner's associations have meetings, but often those in charge do not take the meetings quite as seriously as they should. It's not to say there can't be some casual elements and some fun to the meetings. However, it's important to remember that running a quality condo or HOA is akin to running a business. Once you understand this, you will find that it often becomes much easier to have meetings that are actually effective and that have higher attendance numbers. Running an effective monthly meeting can lead to so much more than a great community.
What Are the Protocols?
First, you need to know and implement the proper protocols that it takes to run a successful meeting and to keep it on the right track. Adhering to these is a very simple and effective way to make the meetings productive, and it ensures that you know exactly what comes next and what to do in certain scenarios. That's not to say that you won't get the curveball thrown at you from time to time. However, having these protocols in mind can be very effective.
You will start by opening the meeting properly. Simply saying, “The meeting will now come to order,” is enough to get everyone's attention and to get them to focus in most cases. You will then approve the minutes of the last meeting and make any necessary corrections or addendum's to the notes.
The right language is very important in setting the mood of the meeting and to ensure that it carries a professional tone. When you are going through the various items on the meeting agenda, call for the “next item of business”, and when you are taking a question or concern from a member, say, “the chair recognizes” and then give the member's name.
When you are taking a vote at the meeting, you have several options. You can start with a voice vote. Those who are in favor of the proposition can say “aye”, while those who oppose can say “nay”. You can also have a standing vote or a hand vote. Those who are in favor will stand, while the opposed will remain seated. A hand vote would have those in favor raise their hand, while those opposed keep their hands down. You will then announce the results of the vote.
While you might want to have a nice and friendly meeting, you will find that still adhering to these procedures can really provide you with quite a bit of discipline in the meeting. You can still have a relatively relaxed environment, but you need to make sure that you treat the meeting as important, because it is.
Get Into the Business Mindset
It's impossible to stress just how important it is to start thinking of the HOA as a business and these meetings as business meetings. You are discussing the state of the complex just as you would the state of a business. Getting into the right mindset for this is very important if you want the association to do more than just get by. If you want it to thrive and actually help to make the community a better place, there are certain things you can do. Just as you would do with a business, you will want to set goals. What do you want for your HOA? Take the time to set goals for the future. Maybe you want to choose another company for pest control because the current company simply isn't doing a good job. The goal could be to choose a new company to present for the next meeting. In addition, it's important to measure the progress of the HOA, as it is a good way to see what needs improvement. Measure the effectiveness and results of the goals you set, for example.
Goals can be large or small, but they should all be aimed at providing a better experience for the complex or community. The ultimate aim of the association should always be the betterment of the community. When you treat it like a business, you are less likely to forget the important things that could cause trouble for you later, such as not getting proper approval before spending money.
More Tips for Making Your Meetings Perfect
When you are setting up your meetings, you never want to “fly by the seat of your pants” so to speak. Planning the meeting and what you will discuss well in advance will ensure that the meeting goes smoothly and that you can transition from one topic to another with no problem. Know what you want to accomplish and have a roadmap that will help you to get there.
One of the problems that some associations have is actually getting owners to attend. The owners are often lackadaisical about attending meetings, especially if they don't think it touches on anything they need to know. It is important to make sure that all of the owners know when and where the meetings will take place. You can send out emails and traditional mail to let them know. Ensure they know what will take place at the meeting and why it is important to attend. When you are having a large annual meeting, consider making it into an actual event that's interesting to attend. Everyone should know where their money went for the year – this is something that will actually interest most owners.
In the end, you should take away from this article that your HOA is a business, and that's the way you have to treat it. Once you do this, and once you take the time to plan your meetings appropriately, everything will fall into place for you, and the meetings will start to become more effective.
PeytonBolin runs training and certification sessions for boards as part of its Mastering the Business of Your Association program. If you area interested in learning more about our upcoming events or requesting a meeting with us, please fill out our contact form and we will follow up with you.