Community meetings are often a trying time for the HOA Board members. But, they don’t have to be stressful. Proper planning and scheduling can prevent a poor performance. Here are a few simple suggestions that can help you conduct a successful meeting.

Scheduling the meeting is more than setting the date.  Identify what needs to be done prior to the meeting so you can allow adequate preparation time.  Your governing documents are an excellent resource for pre-meeting requirements.

State regulations may also govern the community meeting format, schedule, notices, agenda, distribution methods and more. It’s important that you understand and adhere to these regulations.  If you have already identified your preparation timeframe, select a meeting date that is within the state guidelines.

It’s important that communications to owners are accurate, especially if an election is involved.  In addition, the proper channel(s) should be used to communicate with owners. For example, e-mail may not be appropriate for some types of meetings.  Proofing communications and having them reviewed by legal counsel to ensure accuracy can reduce the chances of results being contested. 

Each officer should have his/her report in writing. It’s a good idea to practice the presentations, especially for new Board members. In addition, many people aren’t comfortable or proficient at public speaking, but speeches come with the Board job. Knowing what you are going to say to residents and identifying potential questions upfront helps to put you at ease.

Be familiar with the association’s governing documents.  Bring a copy of the bylaws, CC&Rs and state statutes to the meeting in case an owner asks a question on policy or procedure. Don’t ad lib — refer to these documents when responding to residents’ questions. Not only does this ensure accurate answers, but also reminds owners of where to find answers.

Preparing for a community meeting is an excellent time to engage a property management company. You can go it alone, but bringing in an expert can help you find the right balance between conducting HOA business and building community relations.  A professional can point out potential pitfalls and solid procedures that can save you time and money. 

Your goal: create goodwill among the owners so that they feel good about the association and want to participate in community activities.

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