I Said Order! Running Better Meetings

 Ever feel like your board meetings last longer than Wagner's Ring Cycle operas?  They certainly don’t last nine hours, but even three hours can be a long time to sit in a chair,  especially when the score doesn’t include the Flight of the Valkyries, and there’s no intermission to get a soda and chips.  

 Many board and HOA members dread their monthly board meetings or the annual  meeting, reporting that their sessions often convene for hours, wasting time,  devolving into pointless shouting matches, complete with name-calling.  Dysfunctional meetings as such can be especially daunting for some,  demoralizing for others, or at the very least, frustrating to those who find  themselves thinking: we all work, we’re all busy volunteers, so let’s get this show on the road.  

 Time Consuming Factors

 According to various industry professionals, probably the single biggest hurdle  in getting people to participate in productive meetings is their own apathy. “It's the most common problem,” says one property manager. “The owners are not all that interested and have a sense of resignation. They  feel like they don’t have much say in what happens, and running the building is what they pay the  managers to do.”  

 Apathetic homeowners tend to have little interest in serving on their board—so when these individuals find themselves in an official capacity, it’s possible for a certain aloofness or listlessness to take hold on a board’s operations. Before long you'll find that the board meetings start late, members are inadequately prepared, absent or  disengaged.  

 Everybody comes with the best of intentions,” says David Baron, a principal of Metro Management, a management company in Long  Island City, New York that manages about 16,000 apartments. “The problem is that many people are coming from work, so they are tired. Often  they have not eaten. The meetings often run late, and sometimes they run off  track, meaning they deviate from the agenda, or [because] something [else]  related comes up. By the 9:30 hour, if you've started at 7:30, everybody is  hungry and tired.”  

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