HOA board members have a tremendous amount of power and with that power comes responsibility to exercise it correctly. A big part of this is how you and your fellow board members conduct yourselves when it comes to planning and conducting association meetings.
It’s not surprising that emotions run high when it comes to people’s homes and ultimately how they function within their community. An HOA board that conducts business in a fair and transparent manner can bring reason to a potentially volatile situation.
Here is a list of 5 ideas that can contribute to smoother meetings:
1) Transparency is paramount
This is first on the list because it’s arguably the most important factor. Homeowners who feel like they are being kept in the dark will be the first to cause friction in your community.
The first thing you need to do is commit yourself to open meetings. Everyone should be invited and(take this word out) to participate and everyone should be privy to the findings of each meeting. Go out of your way to make sure this message is heard loud and clear. Also make sure to never conduct business outside of official meetings. Remember: Owners in the loop are happy owners. Happy owners participate in effective meetings.
2) Participation is key
Feel free to get creative here. The idea is that the more people you have present at your meetings, the fewer people will feel unrepresented and thus take issues with the outcomes. Save yourself some headache and get owners to the meetings.
Offer food, activities, raffles, and guest speakers… you get the idea. HOA meetings are notoriously dry. Try your best to make them fun! You will be rewarded with an increase in participation and a decrease in drama.
3) Always have (and stick to) an agenda
Everyone has heard the advice “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is especially true when it comes to HOA Board meetings. Having an agenda will allow members and owners to come prepared to discuss the most important issues.
If you do not have an agenda, you can expect anything and everything to come up and you will inevitably have a hard time keeping the meeting on track. If by some miracle you are able to do so, you will most likely end up with hurt feelings. Cutting someone off or ending a conversation without an agenda is often taken as a personal attack. Conversely, with a clear agenda, any conversation that deviates can be easily curtailed without hurt feelings.
4) Meeting Minutes
Always document the attendance items discussed and the outcomes at each board meeting. This is commonly referred to as “meeting minutes.
5) Communicate with your property manager(s)/board members
Often times there is friction between HOA boards and the property manager. The most common cause is miscommunication and /or lack there of. This leads to issues falling through the cracks and results in the blame game. This is a sensitive relationship because the responsibilities of the two parties are often similar and may even overlap. Therefore, timely and effective communication is key.