Monthly board meetings can drag on for hours, making it seem like an exercise in time-wasting. They can also get rather tense. Board meetings in every building – small and large – get out of hand. Issues become heated when money is at stake and different people have different opinions on how to spend it.
Boards, unit owners and committees can improve the quality and productivity of their meetings very easily with a few simple guidelines.
1. Give Appropriate Notice to Allow Time to Prepare
The law says that owners need to have a 48-hour notice before a meeting, but most management companies give everyone a full week whenever possible. One of the most common problems that slows down a board or committee meeting is a lack of preparation. Board members should be given all the information about the meeting and everything that has to do with the meeting at the earliest date and time possible. As it is the board members’ obligation to the building to do more than show up at the meeting, each board member should be review all materials prior to the meeting. Additionally, a reminder to review everything would not be amiss.
Clearly explain the rules and the agenda for the meeting. If certain requests need to be submitted in writing, make sure that the members know this before the meeting. If it is not appropriate for members to voice their objections, let them know the manner in which they can be heard and when they will be heard so that nobody feels squeezed out. To the extent possible, allowing a span of time to discuss “new business” will provide an opportunity for owners to address new topics or concerns.
3. Set an example: Follow the Rules
Don’t ignore the rules because you’re a small building, or because you hold a ranking position. If you’re on the board, setting the example is key. Others will follow your lead if you derail the conversation for the agenda. During the meeting, it’s very important that the secretary take good minutes so that each topic can be followed from meeting to meeting. This saves time at subsequent meetings so that no time is wasted patching together previous meetings from memory.