When it comes to the subject of meetings—specifically monthly board meetings or annual unit owner meetings in community associations and HOAs—there seem to be no neutral opinions. A few folks actually like these exchanges, but most dread them.
Some residents and board members report attending poorly-conducted and ineffective meetings that wasted both time and energy, and resolved nothing. Others reported attending meetings where tempers flared, voices were raised, and hard feelings wiped out any possible efficiency or progress. At best, most board members and residents alike seem to regard the board/unit owner meeting as a necessary evil.
Evil or not, board and unit-owner meetings are necessary. Community associations are governed by laws, and should be run as a business. Despite the technical advantages of online meetings, emails, text messages, and smartphones, the multiple layers involved with community association management require regular meetings with formal minutes used to record attendance, votes, and finances. They're like the memory bank of the community—crucially important, even when you can't necessarily see them working.
So, what can boards, unit owners, committees, and association managers do to improve both the quality and productiveness of these regularly scheduled and necessary meetings? Where should board officers look for suggestions and education to improve the quality and outcome of board meetings? Here are a few ideas from some industry pros.
Robert’s Rules of Order and Beyond
Robert's Rules of Order was first published in February 1876 by Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert, and contained guidelines intended for use by any “deliberative assembly.” The book lists rules loosely modeled after those used at the time in the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, association managers and boards tend to use the protocols to varying degrees, depending on the property.