One of the most important elements in the operation of a community association is the meeting process. The success of an association is often reflected in the quality and tenor of its meetings. Surprisingly, the meeting process is often ignored or misunderstood in many communities. We have all attended the interminable three-hour board meeting. Most of us have also been privy to the process of rescheduling an annual meeting due to the lack of a quorum, or we have been at the occasional special meeting that nearly erupts into a riot because of some controversial topic being discussed.
In this article we will explore some of the techniques for successful meetings and ways to implement them in an effort to streamline and control the meeting process.
What Is a Meeting?
The board is in charge of a corporation whose assets may be worth millions of dollars. A board meeting is a gathering of the corporate board to conduct the business of the association. Similarly, the annual meeting is a business meeting of all the members of the corporation to conduct business and to elect the directors of the corporation. A special meeting is like an annual meeting in that it involves all the members of the association. However, the only business that may properly be discussed or conducted at a special meeting is that which has been posted with the notice of the meeting. Committee meetings are held to explore ideas and avenues of operations assigned as tasks to the committee by the board.
The four types of business meetings held by an association, then, are board, annual, special, and committee. How these meetings are conducted will have a dramatic impact on the success of the community and will, more often than not, be responsible for whether members will be willing to serve in leadership positions in the future.
To be successful, each type of meeting requires its own unique processes. Many elements enter into the meeting process, and they can be broken into three categories: preparation, conduct, and follow-up. No one category is more important than another, so let's begin by discussing the preparation required for the board meeting. For purposes of discussion, we will assume that the community holds monthly board meetings to conduct the business of the association.