3 Tips for Running a Successful Condo Board Meeting

Monday, March 28, 2016

Since the purpose of a condo board or homeowners’ association is to conduct the official business of the community, their success or failure often rides on the efficiency and overall effectiveness of their meetings.

Below are three steps every board should take to ensure meetings are positive, productive and to-the-point:

1. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

In order to maximize attendance and engagement, a typical board meeting should last no longer than two hours. Unfortunately, some associations view that number as more of a goal than a guideline. By creating a detailed agenda that can serve as a roadmap for discussion, board members can more easily keep their meetings on time and on topic.

The board president should create the agenda at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting to ensure board members and residents have ample time to review it. In addition to providing timeframes for each topic of discussion, the president should consult their building’s property manager for updates on any outstanding business items, including the status of repairs, past-due assessments and third-party vendor contracts, to name a few.

2. “Don’t get sidetracked by people who are not on track”

One of the biggest mistakes board members make with regard to meetings is spending time on an agenda they don’t end up following. While the board should encourage residents to participate in the discussion, it’s also their responsibility to keep the conversation moving by ensuring it pertains directly to the items on the agenda and enforcing time limits.

There are various tools and strategies that can help board members stick to a timed agenda, including the appointment of an official timekeeper. This individual can provide gentle reminders to board members when it’s time to proceed to the next item on the list. In addition to – or as an alternative to – a timekeeper, a visual cue such as an hourglass or large timepiece can be placed in the middle of the table to provide awareness of how much time has been spent discussing a particular issue.

3. “Wise people talk when they have something to say”

While some condo owners attend meetings as silent observers, most are there because they have something to say. The key is ensuring their voice is heard at the appropriate time. Setting aside time for an open forum at the end of each meeting not only provides a predictable format that allows other discussions to proceed more efficiently, but can also help increase attendance.

Including the open forum on the agenda and announcing it at the beginning of the meeting lets attendees know to hold their comments until the rest of the items have been discussed. If a condo owner raises an issue that pertains only to their unit and/or if the discussion reaches a point where it’s no longer productive, the board president should suggest continuing the conversation either after the meeting or at a later time.