Nothing is more frustrating to members of an association board than meetings that are long, tedious, ineffective, and unorganized. Oftentimes the volunteers who take on the task of representing the community are sacrificing valuable time, energy, and resources to be on the board, and the position can be a stressful one. Therefore, whether you are the manager of the board or a member, it is important to consider what can be done to make these meetings as smooth, concise, and effective as possible. Below are tips for anyone to implement in order to make board meetings as painless as possible for everyone involved.
Budget Your Time
One of the most effective things that can be done for a board meeting is to appropriately budget the time needed for each aspect of the meeting. The key to a successful board meeting schedule is for it to be realistic. Any time a group of people is collected together to discuss association issues, there will be people who love to chat as well as people who need to get grievances off their chests. The best way to keep idle chatter and inconsequential issues out of the main part of the meeting is to budget small amounts of time for both. Let the members chat for 10 minutes while grabbing a cup of coffee, and then set aside some time at the beginning of the meeting as an “open forum” where members can freely bring up issues that do not appear on the agenda. But at the end of that time, move on to other business.
If you are the manager of an association board, be sure to prepare a packet of all of the meeting’s crucial information to be handed out to all of the members at least three days ahead of time. This will give members time to gather their thoughts, think about questions or comments, and come to the meeting prepared. The packet could include items such as the last meeting’s minutes, the meeting agenda, and goals for the next meeting. If you are a member of the board, be prepared by reading the packet and come ready with questions or comments you have regarding the items on the agenda.
Robert’s Rule of Order recommends that no more than two hours be allotted for each board meeting. Nothing is more effective at lengthening what should be a short and concise meeting than disorganization. This applies to leaders as well as board members. Managers of the board should arrive at the meeting location early to prepare the space and make sure that each person is equipped with the materials that they will need during the course of the meeting. Also this time should be used to make sure that any technology that is being used during the meeting is working correctly. In addition, each member of the board should also strive to be on time or early so that valuable time is not lost waiting for each member to arrive. The manager should provide times on the agenda so that each member knows how long to expect each section in the agenda to last.
Because meetings are an unavoidable part of being on the association board, striving for quality meetings that are painless and effective is important. Using these strategies can help you as a manager or board member to begin to achieve this for you and your fellows.