The community association board meeting is where the rubber meets the road for practically all matters that come before an association and the community it serves. Order and civility are essential for effective meetings, and their erosion will only snowball into growing disfunction and disharmony.
The effective use of Robert’s Rules of Order as the general format for association board meetings serves a solid platform on which to build upon for successful and orderly meetings. Board meetings adhering to Robert’s Rules generally include a call to order, the establishment of a quorum, a review and approval of the previous meeting’s minutes, new business, old business, and adjournment.
Some associations also add an open forum for input and discussion from owners in attendance at the meeting, but as further addressed below, efforts to streamline agendas and make meetings more efficient may result in the removal of such an item to the extent it is not required in accordance with the association’s governing documents.
However, following this meeting format is just a starting point. Many factors may contribute to effective and efficient meetings. For example, it has been suggested that the manner by which the directors themselves are seated at meetings may contribute to effective meetings. Some have found it helpful to arrange the board members so they are seated in a “C” formation — with the open end facing the attendees — citing that this seating arrangement helps to avoid the misperception that the board members are only speaking to the unit owners in attendance but not to each other.
Maintaining civility during interaction with attendees is also a factor to be considered. Directors should avoid speaking and interrupting individuals’ remarks during discussions. Directors and all others in attendance should be mindful of the need to listen attentively to all the remarks, take notes if necessary, and hold their own questions or comments until after the remarks are concluded.