If an HOA board is only as good as its members, it is imperative that regular board meetings be well attended by actively engaged participants. This ensures that problems are solved in a timely manner, and is essential to the overall success of any community.
It’s not uncommon for even the most established HOA boards to experience a lull in participation, lackluster enthusiasm, or even spotty attendance when it’s time to convene.
Here are five ways to encourage involvement and breathe a little life back into your meetings:
- Consider the Timing
Always remember that HOA meetings are just one facet of your board members’ busy lives, and as volunteers they expect and deserve their time to be used wisely. Simply considering the demographics as well as work and familial demands on their time may enlighten you to a more convenient meeting time for most members and encourage more consistent attendance.
Depending on the type of community, a Saturday morning meeting may be better attended than one held during the week, and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to ask your board members for their input on the best time of day/week to meet—the more involvement they have with determining the timing, the more likely they’ll be to show up.
- Be Prepared
Nothing is more irritating than taking the time to attend a meeting for which the facilitator is unprepared. Show your board members you value their time by having a clear, precise agenda printed and ready at each and every meeting. Provide visuals where needed and most importantly, stay on topic. Finding a balance between including your board members in the discussion and moving through the planned agenda to accomplish goals and solve problems is crucial to a successful meeting.
- Consistency is Key
In addition to conducting each meeting in a neutral, recurring location, be sure to make the setting as professional as possible. When a meeting feels more like a last-minute afterthought, those in attendance will be less inclined to take it seriously. If at all possible, meet in a community center or board member’s home that will be free of distractions. Your meeting place should be well lit, with enough seating for everyone to see and be able to feel that they have an equal opportunity to contribute.
- Involve Your Board Members
Your attendees should feel that their involvement in board meetings goes beyond just filling a seat. You can incentivize your board members to be more actively engaged by providing them with an informational packet prior to each meeting. This information can include a detailed agenda, financial and committee reports, minutes from the previous meeting, and any other pertinent information.
Board members who have a heads up of what will be discussed at each meeting are more likely to come prepared to contribute. Is there an especially quiet member of the group? Offer them a specific assignment or topic to discuss at an upcoming meeting, with plenty of notice so they don’t feel put on the spot.
- Open the Lines of Communication
Disagreements are bound to arise in any group where several different points of view are represented. But if a member of your committee feels that his or her opinion isn’t valued, they’ll soon stop offering it, and your group’s participation can quickly derail. Make it clear to each member that an important part of the resolution progress is compromise, and that you’ll be willing to do so in order to reach a mutually agreeable solution. When those you work with feel that you are willing to give and take to do what’s best for the community as a whole, they’ll follow suit.
Those who volunteer their time and efforts to serve on an HOA board generally have a sincere desire to contribute. Implementing these simple tips can improve the quality and efficiency of any meeting and give your board members the tools they need to engage more fully in the bettering of their community.
If you’re a board member looking for additional help managing your HOA community, or perhaps looking to replace your current HOA management company, contact Spectrum Association Management today to receive a free quote and see what makes us refreshingly different.