Perhaps you’ve lobbied long and hard to make it on the board of your HOA. Or perhaps you were drafted to run the HOA with an ambivalent attitude of genuine concern for your community but distaste for formal meetings and neighbor-on-neighbor conflict. Whether you’ve achieved HOA board greatness, or had HOA board greatness thrust upon you, taking the time to plan out your HOA meetings in a way that fosters HOA harmony while minimizing drama and wasted resources can pay off big time, especially when done so on a consistent basis. Here are 4 tips for running a meaningful HOA meeting that resolves issues instead of inflaming them.
Encourage Regular Face-to-Face Participation
In a world where many of us our hidden by our screens in much of our interactions, emails, message boards, and social media can result in a rapid loss of civility even among people who live in close proximity to but never see each other. But good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation can work wonders in resolving conflicts, but what is key is to foster that regular face-to-face interaction through regular attendance before disputes arise and not have the first in-person interaction be a screaming match at your HOA meeting.
Keep The Meeting as Painless as Possible
So how do you get more people to come to HOA meetings on a regular basis, even when they don’t have a problem? For most people, time is their most precious commodity, so keeping the meetings short and to the point will help. Offering drinks and food can also encourage attendace, as will having the meetings in a relaxing and fun atmosphere (in the condo clubhouse as opposed to folding chairs in the basement) at a time that doesn’t cut into family or work schedules.
Foster a Calm Atmosphere While Sticking Close to the (Posted) Agenda
President Theodore Roosevelt famously said “speak softly and carry a big stick” in reference to American handling of foreign policy. While enforcing HOA policies might not have the global implications of US intervention overseas, an HOA board member can keep meetings sane and well-attended by approaching all issues with a calm, reasonable attitude, even when addressing hostile attitudes and homeowners. But, by clearing posting an agenda for the meeting and actually sticking to it, you can foster an understanding that attendees can trust you are in control of the meeting and will get them out and back home in time for dinner.
Invite an HOA Lawyer to Attend the Meeting
Finally, having an HOA lawyer attend HOA meetings, especially when dramatic disputes regarding HOA regulations and enforcement are on the table, can take the heat off of you by presenting a knowledgeable third party who can calmly and clearly explain matters on behalf of the HOA.
Work With an HOA Lawyer in Handling all HOA Legal Matters
At Goodman Holmgren Law Group, our sole focus is on meeting the legal needs of HOAs, including creating and implementing HOA policy and responding to homeowner concerns. Contact us today to discuss any legal challenge your HOA is facing.