Improving Meeting Effectiveness A Meeting of the Minds

Maybe it was a bad day at work, the dog had an accident on the carpet or a disgruntled call was received from the school principal; whatever the reason, there are times when the last thing a condo board member or resident wants to do is attend a board meeting. Lack of enthusiasm doesn't make these meetings any less crucial and necessary, however, nor does it mean that community members who halfheartedly drag themselves to the common room to conduct association business won't find the energy to squabble, hurl insults, and derail the proceedings once they get there. 

That being the case, it often falls to the property manager or the managing agent to keep things civil and the proceedings moving forward. Here are a few ideas to help make meetings as painless and productive as possible. 

What Are We Doing Here? 

A big first step toward maintaining order and giving structure to any meeting, whether it's a board-only session or an annual gathering of everyone in the building, is to put the meeting's goals and objectives in writing. 

“Meetings can often get off track when there is not a clear posted agenda for the meeting. A detailed meeting agenda should be posted in advance of the meeting detailing the items that will be discussed,” says Christopher Murphy, senior property manager for the Jersey City-based mem property management. “Items not included on the agenda should be tabled for later discussion.  Additionally, promptly distributing approved meeting minutes of previous meetings can help to prevent redundant issues being brought up.”

If board members and residents aren't adequately prepared for the meeting and/or they use the gathering as an opportunity to grind axe-grind over a personal issue, it's only a matter of time before tempers grow short, progress stalls, and the meeting founders. If that happens, it's up to the manager to mediate, restore order, and guide the proceedings back on track. 

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