Every HOA Board member has a right to be heard during meetings and other discussions that concern the association, but one or two strong personalities can often monopolize the meeting and impede the flow of information. You can nix many personality conflicts before they start if you understand the basics of individual behavior and personalities.
Keeping personality type in mind during meetings can enhance the outcome and success of discussions. It’s necessary to create a “safe” environment so that all Board members feel comfortable in contributing. This enhances participation, promotes a wider range of shared perspectives, and increases morale. There are a number of ways to boost meeting productivity. Let’s look into a few top techniques that can help HOA Boards leaders to make the most of meetings.
Mutual respect. Interruptions (even if they are to clarify a point) are often seen as a form of disrespect in conversation and business meetings. A skilled team leader should immediately and politely stop interruptions. Thus, the leader may have to interrupt the constant input of an extrovert. The keys here are awareness, compassion, and consistency. A team leader may say, “John, if I may interrupt briefly so I can understand better; do you mean…?” This is polite to John, prevents your introverts from pulling their hair out, and also provides a break for John if he was struggling to solidify his thoughts aloud.
Moderate the volume. Loud talkers often seem overbearing to introverts, causing them to shut down and even miss meetings because of the emotional pressure. To some, loud means angry or confrontational. Try to keep the volume at a lower level when possible.
Room dynamics. Be aware that hot, stuffy or freezing rooms will prevent people from talking. You’re your most extreme extrovert will clam up when the environment isn’t favorable to a discussion. Rooms that are too small are also important because a small room can have extroverts sounding like a bulldozer to introverts. Think about moderation when you consider room size for your HOA meetings.
Time Limits. If necessary, take turns and/or limit time for talking. One way to do this is a talking stick. It’s a device that the person holding the stick has the right to talk and must relinquish that right by passing the stick to another. If you have a number of extroverts on your HOA board, establish a rule where the stick always passes left or right after 3 minutes. The Board leader may ways call for the stick and pass it to anyone. This is a great way to limit speaking time among introverts and extroverts while being fair to everyone.
There’s a lot that you can do to add efficiency and productivity to HOA meetings. Open your mind to input from others or do a little research. The difference in results you achieve will amaze you and your Board members!