No one enjoys sitting in an HOA board meeting for hours, and your board members don’t want to sit through fights and battles. The key to avoiding these scenarios is good communication. If your board members can communicate their agenda and meeting rules well, you will avoid debates, arguments and endless discussions, making your board meetings effective and, possibly, enjoyable.
Have an Agenda, and Stay Focused
A good board meeting starts with an agenda. Prior to the meeting, create an agenda that guides your discussion. Then, keep the meeting focused on the issues on that agenda. Should a new issue come up, table it for the next meeting.
Time Your Agenda
One way to stay focused is to keep the agenda timed. Only allow a certain amount of time for each item on the agenda, and when that amount of time has occurred, table discussion for the next meeting and move on to the next discussion point. Also, have a scheduled ending time for the entire meeting. In order for this to work properly, however, you must start on time to give the group enough time to move through the items on the agenda.
Manage Discussion Properly
Make it clear how discussion will be handled, and stick to the rules you create. A good rule of thumb is to only allow discussion of an item on the agenda after a motion has been made and seconded. Then, give the board members a chance to make statements or ask questions prior to voting.
Don’t let a single member monopolize the discussion. One way to prevent this and encourage equal participation is to not allow board members to have a second time to speak on a topic when others have not spoken the first time. Also, limit each member two times of discussion during any particular motion.
Keep Discussion on Point
Interruptions often lead to digressions. If an issue is brought up that is not relevant to the discussion, acknowledge it, but set it aside for later. This may require a presiding office to state the rules of the discussion in order to keep it on track.
Learn to Manage Conflict
Conflicts can easily be avoided if board members discuss their opinions with the presiding officer, not each other. Should confrontation start to happen, the presiding officer can remind members to address remarks to the officer and not each other. Work hard to end the discussion positively, so your board members will look forward to your next meeting.
Good communication and rules of order can make your board meetings a positive experience, instead of one your HOA board members dread. Consider these tips to change the atmosphere of your discussion at your next scheduled board meeting.