Meetings are a necessary evil in life, but no one wants to sit through a long, drawn-out event where nothing is accomplished. Having a well-planned, organized HOA meeting can make decision making and discussion more effective and efficient. The agenda is your roadmap and helps to keep things on track and moving along. Members should be provided with a copy of the agenda in advance of the meeting so that they can prepare and know exactly what will be discussed.

Before finalizing the agenda, members should have the opportunity to submit issues that they would like to see added for discussion. Just because a topic is suggested does not necessarily mean it will make the cut – the board may opt to address the request through different means. Remember that not every topic has to be put on the upcoming agenda. If it is not a pressing issue, it may be bumped to the next meeting due to time considerations.

Key elements of the agenda should include:

Approving previous minutes. After the meeting comes to order, take a moment to ratify the minutes from the previous meeting. Make any corrections or changes necessary, then approve them and move on.

Hearing reports. If any HOA committees have been working on projects or tasks, give them the opportunity to provide a brief update on progress. This is also the time to update on operational issues and financial reports for the HOA. Keep members in the loop about what is happening and what to expect.

Reviewing old business. Were there items that were tabled or postponed from the last meeting? Don’t let these issues fall through the cracks. Circle back and decide how these items will be addressed; they may be resolved now or further action may be taken.

Introduce new business. Once all previous information is discussed, it’s time to take new issues. Stick with exactly what is on the agenda. Try to limit side discussions and focus on the matters at hand. Issues not on the agenda can be noted for another meeting. If it is clear that a topic requires more lengthy discussion or research, consider tabling the item or referring it to a committee. It can be added to a future agenda once more information has been gathered.

Open the floor for discussion. Give members the opportunity to stand up and speak, but make sure there are clear procedures in place. Many HOAs limit open floor time to two to three minutes per person.

Adjourn the meeting. The meeting is formally closed and discussion regarding association business is ended. Make sure to inform members about the date of the next meeting.

Don’t forget to ensure that the secretary or another designated person is taking accurate minutes and that quorum is achieved before any information is discussed. If your HOA is having trouble staying focused during meetings, keeping them to a reasonable length, or generating enough attendance, talk to your property manager about potential solutions. Kuester is happy to work with HOAs on these issues and much more.

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