While many board members in their professional lives are used to participating in and even leading formal meetings, they usually aren’t familiar with the protocol for an association board meeting. Many practices are intuitive to running an efficient board meeting. However, there are also some gray areas that can eat away at meeting time.
Advance preparation is key to streamlining your HOA Board meeting. We all procrastinate, but devoting some advance time to meeting preparation pays off in shorter meeting time and increased results. It’s definitely worth the extra effort. A board meeting should last only as long as necessary to complete the business stated on its agenda. Experienced management professionals and board members generally say that if a typical board meeting takes longer than an hour (two at the most) something is wrong.
Prior review of the agenda and reports enable the Board to move quickly to the business of accepting reports, making motions and voting. Send the meeting package out in time for members to review. All board members should be expected to read the materials before the meeting, so everyone can efficiently move through the topics at a good pace.
If you find that one-hour is not realistic for conducting a regular board meeting, you may need to assess whether too many items are on the agenda. You can often reduce the number of topics by delegating them to management or committees for research or action. Designating specific tasks for others to handle can help you maximize meeting time and get others more involved in the duties of the association.
Most Boards find that parliamentary procedure works well for HOA meetings. Governing documents may specify that Board meetings follow Robert’s Rules of Order. This gives the Board a method of bringing discussion from inception to closure, making final decision and resolving disputes. Following Robert’s Rules can make it much easier to control unruly discussions and keep the meeting on track. A typical agenda includes:
1. Call to Order
2. Reading of (or waiver of reading) Minutes of previous meeting
3. Member Open Forum
4. Reports of Management, Listing of Action and Informational items
5. Special Reports of President or other Officers
6. Reports of Committees
7. Unfinished business
8. New business
The Chairperson should keep the agenda moving forward and discussions on topic. Reminding members of time constraints is often a help. If your Board meetings run on and on, implement some changes to maximize efficiencies. You’ll have happier Board members and increase your results.