Seven Steps for Running a Successful Board Meeting

HOA board meetings are an essential part of running a homeowners association efficiently. You draft the agenda, ensure your meeting space is open at the needed time, and send your notice according to state law and governing document requirements. But, what do you do once you walk through the door and take a seat at the table? Here, we’ll go over seven steps you can take to make sure that meeting is successful.

1. Plan the agenda carefully. The agenda is the meeting’s schedule. We propose that an agenda should include two key attributes. First, the agenda should list each item that will be discussed in order of importance to make sure the most crucial items are addressed. Second, each item should be allotted a specific number of minutes for discussion; this will help ensure that discussions don’t run long. For instance, ten minutes might be assigned to reviewing and approving the past meeting minutes, and fifteen minutes to deciding on a new landscaping vendor.

Sharing this detailed agenda will also get homeowners interested in the meeting—they’ll want to learn the outcomes of important community business and how the decisions will affect them.

2. Provide necessary documents. Whether you’ve planned an information session on oak rot or have decided to update your pavilion reservation form, have any documents that will be discussed during the meeting prepped and available.

3. Choose a close, convenient location. Your fellow board members and your membership live busy lives! You can improve board meeting attendance and punctuality by making coming to a board meeting as easy as possible. You don’t want to waste time waiting on people to show up! Somewhere in the community would be your best bet, followed by, possibly, a telephone conference. If you must meet outside the community, try not to make the drive more than ten minutes, and ensure the location is easy to find—you don’t want your attendees getting lost.

4. Keep the meeting short and sweet. What’s better than an informative and productive one-hour meeting? Mitigate the chance of long meetings by using your agenda to give homeowners a start and end time for the meeting. You’ve already made the schedule, so this is only a matter of sticking to your plan!

5. Keep the goal in mind. As you deliberate important community business during the meeting, keep your end goal in mind: as a board member, you are dedicating your time and energy to make the community where you live a better place for everyone. Along with your fellow board members—your team of professionals and experts elected by the membership—you will work to find the solution that’s best for all. This is quite a tall order!

However, with the support and unique perspectives of your team, you can surprise yourself! The trick is to give each board member time to express their ideas, and then take parts of everyone’s ideas to create the best solution. Listen and learn from each other. Remember, it’s not about being right, it’s about doing what’s right.

6. Block out short-term and long-term goals. At each meeting, after you’ve cemented solutions to any new issues, decide which issues are most important and divide them into short-term and long-term goals. You should spend time at each meeting to touch base and check progress on current goals and problem solve if any have hit a snag.

7. Assign goals for each member to complete before the next meeting. After your board has updated and revised the community’s goals, decide on which items need to be completed before the next meeting and assign tasks to each board member. At the next board meeting, board members can lead the discussions of their assigned items.

As you can see, how you budget your time and your words during the meeting is just as important as all the planning that goes into it. We hope these tips help you cover all the items on your association’s to-do list. Thanks for joining us!

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