Are your HOA meetings running long? Is your Board chasing rabbits more than accomplishing community goals? If this sounds like your Board meetings, you’re not alone. In fact, almost every HOA Board has found itself in this situation at some point. Implementing these five tips can get your next Board meeting back on track and keep you there.
Develop your agenda topics and times from previous and current action items. Then, ask the topic point person to prepare information for the Board package. Distribute the meeting package to the Board members at least a week prior to the meeting. Advance preparation is key to conducting beneficial discussions while staying within the topic timeframe.
Remind Board members to come to the meeting prepared to discuss agenda items. Agree to avoid straying from the agenda. Note comments and new issues for future agendas. When everyone agrees, it’s much easier to stay with your agenda.
It’s easy to chase the rabbit when someone raises an issue that isn’t on the agenda. Just don’t! You need time to think through the issue and gather supporting information. Start your meeting by reminding attendees to stay within the agenda timeframes. Note any issues raised and acknowledge the comment with, “Thank you for your input. We’ll take this under consideration.” Recognizing and capturing the issue helps diffuse urgency.
Most HOA Boards follow a version of Robert’s Rules in their meetings. Formality helps create an atmosphere of respect and keeps discussions moving efficiently. It gives the chairperson an easier way of controlling the meeting by stating that the motion is out of order. Another advantage is that minutes are much easier to capture when comments are on target. If you’ve become lax, implement Robert’s Rules again.
Some people are “process” people. Others are social. Strike a balance between meaningful discussion and overanalyzing. When you recognize that Board members are overthinking or repeating themselves, call them on it. As the chairperson, try to move the Board to taking action. It may take several meetings, but stay with it. You’ll reap the rewards of shorter meetings with more results.