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.
“When I work with managers and board members—during their training, I tell them that the most important thing is to clearly identify what the meeting agenda is,” says Marc Mallet, the director of field operations for Atlantic & Pacific Management in Bay Harbor Islands. “The best preparation is to have a precise agenda and clearly identify the agenda items and stick to the meeting plan.”
Others would agree that preparation is the keystone to having a successful and stress-free meeting.
“First things, first, you have to be prepared, it’s like the boy scouts,” says Paul Licata, director of business development for Seacrest Services Inc. in West Palm Beach. “For example, if you are going to be discussing a particular project that’s coming up, make sure you have all of your backup documentation: proposals, reports, budgets and financials. We have a corporate policy that states board packages shall include a copy of the agenda, latest financials, previous meeting minutes, a detailed manager’s report and all documentation that the board will discuss or vote on. All of this will be included in a comprehensive package and delivered to each member of the board a minimum of three days prior to a properly-noticed board meeting. This ensures all involved in the decision-making process are in a position to make educated decisions in a timely manner.”