10 Ways To Gain Order In An Unruly Meeting
The best homeowner’s association (HOA) board meetings are the ones that run smoothly, key issues are discussed, and prudent decisions are made. However, not every board meeting is guaranteed to run without a snag. On occasion, an unruly meeting may occur when controversial issues arise, resulting in heated debates. At the end of these meetings, some board members and community members may be left wondering if their time was well spent.
Board members should adequately prepare for potential disagreements and learn how to manage these issues when they present themselves. With the right management and leadership, unruly meetings can be turned into a productive event, where everybody leaves feeling confident about the future of the HOA.
How to Gain Order in an Unruly Meeting
Below are ten tips for creating a positive meeting culture, void of an unruly environment.
Consider the location.
If it’s just the board members, holding a meeting in a small conference room works fine – but if community members are also invited, they won’t feel welcomed if they’re cramped in the back of small space. Certain topics will attract a larger number of members, so it’s vital that you look for an area large enough for everybody to fit comfortably.
Give enough notice.
Be sure to provide plenty of notice so members can adequately prepare. The by-laws outline the number of days in advance a board must notify its members for informational and voting meetings. Ignoring these guidelines may cause frustration and discontent among community members, making the board seem untrustworthy.
Always use an agenda.
Holding a meeting without an outlined agenda may create chaos, letting community members think they can discuss any topic at any time. By using a clear agenda with designated areas for new business, the board will have a better chance of staying on task and discussing issues that need reviewing before adding new ones to the list.
Provide the right information.
For a voting meeting, it is essential that community members have the information they need to make a well-informed decision. Informational packets with supporting documents should be provided.
Appoint a meeting chairperson.
While every board member is valued, it’s a good idea to appoint one individual to lead the meeting. This helps maintain order, keeps board members on track, and shows visitors that there is a structure that should be followed at each meeting. The chairperson should also be able to move the discussion along in a friendly and firm manner.
Review the rules and procedures.
By explaining the rules and procedures at the beginning of each meeting, the board may establish expectations for all parties.
Brainstorm potential questions and prepare.
Before the meeting occurs, prepare by answering tough questions ahead of time, brainstorming opposing views and reasoning. Practicing potential responses to these questions will help you look well prepared and informed.
Lead by example.
Board members should be expected to remain calm through an entire meeting, setting an example for other community members on appropriate meeting behavior.
Call for a break when necessary.
Don’t be afraid to call for a break or intermission when topics get heated. At this time, debating parties may get the chance to regain their composure. This gives everybody time to reflect on the situation and reconsider how to approach an issue once the break is over.
Hold community and board members accountable for following the outlined rules and procedures. Offer the first warning for anybody that crosses the line, and if a second infraction occurs, it is best to remove individuals from the meeting.
If you are looking for a more streamlined approach to meeting management – AR Management can help. Contact us to learn more about our management services today!