How To Run Effective Meetings

Your time is precious.  There is no point holding meetings of the owners corporation or the executive committee if they are time consuming, if no decisions are resolved or if you keep hearing the same tired issues meeting after meeting…….
because nothing is getting done!

Follow these basic rules to ensure your owners corporation and executive committee achieve your targets and objectives.

Planning

A typical meeting is 10% planning- 80% attendance and 10% follow up.

An Effective meeting is 50% planning, 20% attendance and 30% follow up

Agenda

To form a good agenda you need to consider the following:

Priorities: What absolutely must be covered?

Results:  What do we need to accomplish?  Motions or items for discussion should be suitably worded so that they indicate what

  1. The outcome should be. For example:  The intention is to appoint a contractor from a selection of quotes to perform repairs to the roof.  The agenda item should not just say “Roof Repairs”.
  2. Participants: Who needs to attend the meeting to make it successful?  Are there consultants that need to be in attendance to assist in the decision-making by being available to answer relevant questions from the Executive Committee?
  3. Sequence: in what order should you address each item?  Are particular decisions reliant on other motions being discussed or resolved first?
  4. Timing: How much time should be spent on each item?

Venue

A study has shown that people in meetings where everyone stands takes 34% less time to make assigned decisions, with decisions that were just as effective as those made by groups that were sitting down.

However, complex meetings may require lengthy discussion.  Therefore, consider the venue so that it can comfortably accommodate all the participants and that any resources for the meeting are available.  Standing in the garage with poor lighting in the middle of winter to make decisions concerning major building works or legal claims can lead to poor decision-making as the members are distracted by their environment.

Access to timely information

The draft agenda and supporting documents must be circulated early.  Set a due date for the executive committee members to provide feedback on the agenda and stick to it so that you release the final agenda with sufficient time.

This is particularly relevant to larger schemes whereby it may be necessary to tour the building to provide an explanation of the activities currently in hand with regards to repairs and maintenance of common property and the location of facilities such as the telecommunications room, roof access, etc.

Legislation may stipulate 72 hours (for an executive committee meeting) but a complex meeting should be afforded more time than this so that they may assess the information and seek clarification prior to the meeting if necessary.

Start the meeting on time

If the quorum has been achieved, start the meeting on time.  Do not wait for key members.  Do not re-cap for delayed members when they arrive.  Failing to do so only reiterates to those individuals that it is OK to be late to future meetings.  The chairperson should address privately those owners that are continually late to meetings.

Recap terms of communication

If you anticipate that this will be a contentious meeting with possible conflict, at the start of the meeting remind the owners on the agreed terms of communication.

For example:

  • taking direction from the chairperson;
  • allowing others to finish speaking;
  • to be respectful of others opinions even if they are in conflict with your own;
  • focus comments on the issue, not another speaker; and
  • express your point of view at the meeting, not after the meeting in the car park.

Stick to the agenda

Discuss only those items that have been allocated to the agenda.  If the meeting is distracted by other matters, this will prevent or delay the owners from achieving the original objectives set for the meeting.  Instead, acknowledge the matter quickly and confirm as an action of the meeting for this matter to be raised as an item for discussion at the following meeting.

Do not revisit a decision in the same meeting once it has been made unless new information comes to light at that same meeting.

Stick to the allotted time

Use your agenda as your time guide.  When you notice that time is running out, negotiate with owners to reach a decision, defer the discussion to another time if possible or allocate the item to a sub-committee.

Comprehensive meeting minutes

Meeting minutes should accurately reflect the key points of discussion and final resolution of each agenda item.  Any action items should be summarised at the end of the minutes and identify the participant that will be responsible for completing the action item and the allotted time frame for completion.  These action items should then be reviewed at the following meeting to either confirm resolution, or provide owners with status updates.

Disclaimer: The content of this factsheet is intended as a guide only and cannot be relied upon for legal advice. Readers should make and rely on their own enquiries regarding all aspects of the material. City Strata disclaims any liability for negligence or otherwise in any way connected with this factsheet.

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