Many association board members and shareholders alike come to dread the monthly board meeting or annual shareholders meeting - stories abound of meetings dragging on for hours, with participants feeling that they're trapped in a vortex of wasted time.
Dysfunctional board meetings can be especially intimidating (not to mention demoralizing) for brand-new board members just figuring things out. The New Jersey Cooperator surveyed a few property managers to find out how boards can improve the quality and productivity of their meetings, so that board members and shareholders feel a sense of engagement.
The All Important Agenda
"My biggest piece of advice is to make sure the meeting revolves around the agenda," recommends Jennifer Ward, administrator for Twin Rivers Community in East Windsor, New Jersey. "The board president - not the manager - facilitates the meeting around the agenda."
Ward suggests a process in which the manager collaborates with the board president to compile and organize the agenda's information. In addition, she contacts other board members for input. She also attempts to get committee reports and new business in writing, ahead of time. All the collected information is then compiled in a packet distributed to board members, the board attorney and recording secretary five days in advance of the meeting. A copy of the agenda is also posted in the office for all residents to read.
"This way I can field questions ahead of time," explains Ward. "So that during the meeting, the board can conduct the business of the association."