As volunteers to your community associations, you know that while board meetings are essential for conducting association business, they can be tedious if poorly run. Many of our board members complain about attending board meetings and ask us how they can be run more effectively. Here are a few tips we have compiled over the years:
1. Prepare an agenda Creating an agenda well in advance of the meeting can help organize what will be discussed at the meeting and provide a roadmap of how the meeting will go. An orderly agenda will specify exactly what will be discussed and when. Following the agenda will help the meeting go quickly and address all required items.
2. Review materials in advance
If you have a management company, most managers will prepare a packet in advance of the board meeting with all relevant materials needed to go through the agenda. Make sure you review the packet before the meeting so that discussion can be on point, limited and voting can be done quickly.
3. Meet regularly
Each association will have different requirements regarding how often a Board must meet. Follow those guidelines, but remember that you can always meet more often, particularly if special issues arise. The more regularly boards meet, the more smoothly the meetings will go.
Additionally, remember that boards have the obligation to vote on relevant requests and matters as they come up and not wait months until the next meeting to make a decision that an owner is patiently waiting for.
4. Stay on track.
Remember that board meetings are called to conduct business. Having social conversations is certainly encouraged in order to facilitate good relationships with your fellow volunteers and your vendors. Just remember to be courteous of others’ time. Most management contracts have caps on the length of a board meeting. Even if your management company does not charge for additional time, remember that property managers generally have meetings multiple nights during the week and their time is precious.
Other board members are giving up valuable family, work and social time to help the association. Try to keep the meetings based on the agenda and save social talk for before or after the meeting.
5. Limit owner participation.
If your governing documents and/or the law requires you to have open board meetings, keep in mind that while owners are permitted to attend, they are not allowed to participate in the meeting. If a non-board member attempts to enter the conversation, gently remind them that the purpose of the meeting is to conduct board business and that their inquiries may be addressed after the meeting or at a later time.
Hopefully, your board meetings are already effective and well run; however, if you ever find that your meetings are getting out of control, come back and review these tips to try and get back on track.