Maybe it was a bad day at work, the dog had an accident on the carpet, or a disgruntled call was received from the school principal. Whatever the reason, there are times when the last thing a condo board member or resident wants to do is attend a board meeting. Lack of enthusiasm doesn’t make these meetings any less crucial and necessary, however, nor does it mean that community members who halfheartedly drag themselves to the common room to conduct association business won’t find the energy to squabble, hurl insults, and derail the proceedings once they get there.
That being the case, it often falls to the community manager or the managing agent to keep things civil and the proceedings moving forward. Here are a few ideas to help make meetings as painless and productive as possible.
What Are We Doing Here?
A big first step toward maintaining order and giving structure to any meeting, whether it’s a board-only session or an annual gathering of everyone in the building, is to put the meeting’s goals and objectives in writing.
“As a manager, the biggest issue that I see is board members who don’t prepare themselves for a meeting,” says Lara Garrell, a certified supervising community manager with Western Nevada Management in Reno. “In most cases, the manager sends the board a board packet anywhere from 3-5 days before the meeting. The board packet has not only the agenda, but supporting documentation of what will be discussed at that particular meeting.
“My biggest pet peeve is when I see a board member opening up their board packet at the beginning of the meeting,” she continues. “As a manager, I believe I pride myself on having ample information included in my board packets, so that any given board member can follow along with the agenda and have supporting documentation to review for each agenda item. I also ask my board members to review the board packet and ask questions prior to the meeting so that I can research their questions and be prepared at the meeting to answer questions.”