So your community’s yearly meeting is approaching. While you’ve probably met with your fellow board members throughout the year, this is something else entirely. At yearly meetings most HOA’s invite all right holding members to attend. How do you make sure that this meeting doesn’t become hectic and that you actually get to the votes and issues that need to take place? IKO Community Management wants to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that this meeting is as productive as possible. Every HOA is different so make sure that you are familiar with your community’s bylaws before making any arrangements. Here are some tips to help you conduct a successful HOA meeting:
- Notify residents at least a month in advance – Your community’s bylaws will tell you what is required when it comes to notifying your residents. We’d recommend going beyond what is required by the bylaws. It will only take you a few minutes to send an email to your community and post the meeting on social media. No one can complain about not knowing about the meeting if you make it impossible to miss the notices!
- Distribute Agendas – There are multiple benefits to distributing notice of the major discussion points, but one of the main benefits is that your community will come prepared with their concerns and input to add to the discussion. This may also encourage attendance if popular (or unpopular) topics are being discussed.
- Hold the meeting at a reasonable time – While it’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s schedules, try to hold the meeting somewhere between when most people would be home from work and before it’s time to put the kids to bed. We’d recommend trying out 6:30 in the evening. Stay away from nights of the week that families typically spend together, like Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Choose a night of the week that works best for the board and work from there. Post the agenda a few weeks before the meeting to ensure that your community is aware of the schedule.
- Provide food – Remember your college days when the only way to get someone to attend a meeting was to provide pizza? Let’s be honest, not much has changed. Chances are you’re holding this meeting during peak dinner hours for most families. Being hungry tends to bring out the toddler in even the most mature adults, and nothing spoils a meeting like grumbling residents. Order a few pizzas, a party sub or a cheese and cracker tray and set them out before the meeting. It doesn’t have to be much, just enough to take the edge off.
- Assemble Packets – Most yearly meetings will require a vote of one type or another. Collect ballots, agendas and signature cards and distribute them as community members enter the meeting. This will cause less confusion and will allow community members to digest the information in their seats at their convenience rather than taking up too much time before the meeting.
- State Rules Before the Meeting Begins – If you’re implementing limits on speaking time or any other restrictions, announce these rules before the meeting gets underway. This way attendees will not feel singled out if the rule is announced before or during their time at the podium. We’d recommend having rules concerning length of speaking time and guidelines as to how it is appropriate to respond to a speaker.
- Relax – While these meetings are important to your community and need to be taken seriously, please remember that these are your friends and neighbors. Try to invoke a calm, relaxed demeanor and invite input rather than seeming lofty and set aside. We’d recommend both a before meeting mingling time and a post meeting decompression time. If you are a member of the board, please don’t rush out after the meeting. Remain afterwards to answer any questions and patiently listen to concerns.
IKO Community Management wishes you the best when it comes to your HOA community’s annual meetings. Keep your cool and organize beforehand to encourage a more productive atmosphere.