No-one wants to attend a boring meeting. People want to take part in productive meetings that lead to accountability and fruitful action. In the following guide, we’re going to show you how to create a meeting agenda that’ll help you move things along and make your meetings exciting, interesting and productive.
How to create an effective HOA board meeting agenda?
There are plenty of ways to make HOA board meetings more effective. One of them is to acknowledge the purpose of the meeting by preparing an agenda beforehand. The agenda should be sufficiently detailed so that the board can stay on topic and allocate a time period for each item.
Read on for more tips on how to create an effective HOA meeting agenda that’ll help you hold successful meetings.
The preparation of the agenda is usually a demonstration of the partnership between a property manager and the board. It’s important for these two parties to prepare and present the agenda together in partnership. That way, you’ll know that everyone is on the same page and that you have all the information you need.
Here are a few guidelines to follow when preparing a meeting agenda:
- Set your goals: What do you want out of the agenda? What are your expectations for the meeting? It is very important to set goals and objectives from your HOA meetings. If you have already set certain goals, then your work is halfway done.
- Develop four to six items. Two to three might be a little light, seven or eight makes it look like it’s going to be a long meeting. Four to six means that the line items are well-thought-out.
- Use verbs. Action words like discuss, review and analyze show that there should be an action or end-goal at the end of the line item discussion.
- Action items: When preparing your line items ask yourself; what are you agreeing to and is it going to take the HOA to where it needs to go? The key is to remember that these action items create commitment and accountability. It holds both parties accountable for what you’re agreeing to accomplish.
How to structure your agenda?
Essentially, a meeting agenda is a tool whose purpose is to manage meeting proceedings. Now, there are several different kinds of agendas that can help you achieve this purpose in different ways.
A time-based agenda is when every item on the agenda is logged for a specific time period. This helps the board to figure out how long they need to allot each item on the agenda and prioritize the most important issues accordingly.
A time-based agenda makes it a lot easier to cut off a discussion that isn’t productive or relevant to the item. Board meetings that begin on time and end on time usually have good attendance, and time-based agendas really help you manage time in a meeting. Most people are worn out after an hour and a half, so that’s usually the best time frame to measure your meetings against.
The next type of agenda that you can look into is an outcome-based agenda. This is where you tell the people what kind of outcome you’re expecting, whether it’s an action item or a board vote. That way, members can apply themselves to the items on the agenda and come up with productive questions that’ll help to drive the meeting forward.
An outcome-based agenda can be used in conjunction with a time-based agenda to let people know what the action items are and how much is allotted to each item.
A priority-based agenda requires you to place the most important item at the top of the agenda. If you want a really robust discussion for a particular item, place it at the top of the agenda so that board members don’t leave before you discuss it and get valuable questions.
This is an agenda that packages all of the routine items in a meeting that you sometimes have to vote on separately. Whether its approving meeting minutes or looking at committee reports, it puts everything together in one comprehensive agenda. Then, at the meeting, there is a motion to approve the consent agenda in order to move things along swiftly.
This type of agenda can also help to shorten meetings so that you don’t have long discussions about issues that are easy to approve. It leaves you with more time to do the things that are really important.
The one caveat is that board members have to be willing to read the material beforehand, so you don’t have people voting on things that they haven’t read. If you cram too much into your consent agenda, it may be overwhelming for the board members to read everything. Also, any board member can request an item to be pulled out of the consent agenda in order to discuss it separately.
When should you flip the agenda?
We’ve all been in a meeting where after a while, everyone starts looking at their watch because it’s getting late and there’s something big at the end of the agenda. People will agree to anything to get out of the room and that’s not what you want with an important agenda item.
That’s why it might be helpful to flip the agenda and place important items on top. Let items that could be moved to the next board meeting fall to the bottom of the agenda.
Distribution of the agenda
To prepare your HOA members for the meeting, it’s important to distribute the agenda at least a week prior, so that they can read through the items and figure out if they have any questions. This promotes full participation from everyone involved.
Make sure the documents are accessible through a central portal or location, such as a member’s only website that comes with a community file library. This feature will allow you to organize and store all of your association’s information for easy access. That way, people don’t have to go searching through their email inbox every time they need to reference an agenda item.
How to keep members interested?
One way to keep people interested and active in meetings is to give them actual work to do instead of pumping them with information during meetings. Board members need real engaging work to do.
Also, people don’t want to discuss the same things over and over, so it’s important to push for the implementation of action items from previous meetings. To this end, it might be helpful to place reports on previous action items so that people know that they’ll be held accountable for their responsibilities.
A board meeting is intended to be a culmination of various steps. As such, the Board must consider a number of items before the actual meeting, which will be included in the agenda. This yields an educated board that’s prepared to discuss issues and make sound and rational decisions.
An agenda makes it easier to control the outcome of a meeting, and you can structure and customize it in a way that serves your purpose.
With the exception of new business or anything that didn’t come up until after the agenda was created, the board meeting setting is the end of a process and not the beginning.
Download our free Meeting Agenda template