How to make condo meetings fun again
Condo board directors attend a lot of meetings. Most condos have at least one board meeting a month and managers many more. During board meetings, directors make decisions that affect the entire condo community and property.
Attending board meetings is a key part of a director’s job, but I doubt many directors would rank attending meetings as one of their top five favorite activities in their role. Directors will often complain about meetings that run over time, lack focus, have no agenda, or are a waste of time. On top of all this, the requirement to have minutes adds considerably to their aggravation.
Nearly every condo director I talk to complains about their meeting minutes, how they are never ready for review until just before the next meeting. Annual General Meeting (AGMs) can be even worse. Owners can end up getting the minutes to review months or even a year after the meeting took place. While the law requires condo boards to document decisions made during board meetings in their minutes, the law does not set a timeline for getting draft minutes ready for review.
Never during my terms as a director did I have the draft minutes within two days after the meeting, which I would consider to be a timely goal. Getting them done several weeks after every meeting meant it was hard to remember what was said, even harder to remember any decisions made and almost impossible to remember who was going to follow up on an item.
When I became a recording secretary, I promised myself I would do a better job and always have the minutes ready for review within 48 hours after a meeting. Despite my good intentions, I never quite got the job done; I took notes with a pen and paper but found it took a lot of time to transcribe my notes – often I couldn’t even read my notes. I switched to taking my notes directly on my computer, but this also proved slow.
I needed to do something different. I decided to get the minutes ready before the meeting even started. The manager’s report provided me with the details of discussion items so I included these items. Anything that came up in our emails in between meetings also got added. I started the meeting with an almost completed draft of the minutes and added additional details during the meeting.
It also helped to project the minutes on a computer monitor so that the directors could see how their comments and decisions were recorded and point out any errors or omissions immediately. The next day, I made minor edits and then distributed for comments. It was so much easier to finish my minutes when I could remember what had been said.
It took me a few meetings to perfect this approach, but at my last board meeting, I finally did it: I got the draft minutes ready for review only a day after the meeting.
Since minutes are a mandatory legal requirement, we may as well have accurate ones and make it worth the effort. Accurate minutes stand up much better in court, in case there is ever a dispute. And can also be used to communicate the condo’s history to current and future directors and owners.
Instead of thinking about minutes simply as a nuisance, with a little organization and planning, they can be a really useful tool. For myself, meetings are fun because I can engage without stressing over note-taking.
Being a director can be hard work but it can also be really enjoyable. Your efforts contribute in a meaningful way to your condo community. By taking the time to pre-plan meeting minutes I hope every director looks forward to their next board meeting and actually gets to have fun!
How do you make meetings fun again? Any suggestions? Tweet your suggestions to @boardspaceinc