Disorganized and poorly-run board meetings are time-wasters that can make even the most ardent board member cringe at the thought of an upcoming session. On the flip side, a well-run board meeting can be a productive hour or two or three that benefits the entire building. Here are a few tips from the professionals for getting the most out of your meetings.
Preparing for the Meeting
No one should be heading into a monthly board meeting unprepared and uninformed. The days when the board meeting served as the primary method of disseminating information are long gone; today rapid communication like email, smart phones and BlackBerry devices can keep board members, residents and managers up-to-date monthly, weekly, daily or even by the hour. So preparation for the next meeting can begin almost as soon as the first one ends.
Others would agree that preparation is the keystone to having a successful and stress-free meeting.
“Preparation is crucial,” says Bruce Corson, president of SOAR, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents and a former condo board president. “It’s crucial for a number of reasons, but the main reason is you want to be sure that people are coming to the meetings fully prepared to understand what the issues are and have had a chance to think about what their response or what their point of view will be.”
“Before the meetings you should get out information like monthly financials to all the board members in advance so they can review them prior to the meeting,” adds James Carlini, president of the Lake Shore Towers Condominium Association on Lake Michigan. “Board members should also look at any other building projects or issues prior to the meeting. We also try to make the meetings a little social. A lot of times in condo buildings people are isolated from the people who live around them. It’s important that if you live in 401 you know who the people are in 703.”