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Maintaining Etiquette at HOA Meetings

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No one likes to waste their time at unnecessarily long meetings or feel that they are being disrespected or not heard. There is a certain decorum that should be established when it comes to HOA meetings in order to improve communication, efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement. Whether you are a board member or not, you should still remain respectful and professional. If meetings tend to get out of hand, it may be necessary to review expectations and guidelines at the start of each meeting before proceeding.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you head off to the next HOA meeting:

  • Be timely: Rushing in at the last minute, or worse – late, can be a distraction and hold things up. Try to arrive at least a few minutes early so that you can get a seat and situate yourself for when things begin.
  • Limit distractions: Silence your cell phone, put away other work, and make sure you are ready to focus. If everyone is paying attention, it can help things to run more smoothly and quickly. There is less confusion and redundancy. If you’re playing or texting on your cell phone, you may miss something important or be a distraction to others.
  • Be respectful: Take a few minutes to introduce yourself to others around you before the meeting begins. Smile, shake hands, and be friendly. During the meeting, refrain from making rude comments or using inappropriate language. It is a professional environment so your demeanor and conversation should reflect this.
  • Wait your turn: If you have something to say, wait until you are called on or acknowledged to speak. When members call out or interrupt, it is not only disrespectful, it slows things down. Jot down a quick note to remind yourself of what you wanted to say and then listen carefully to others so you know if the information has been covered.
  • Be prepared: If you have an item that is on the agenda to be discussed, make sure you have done your homework and prepared what you are going to say. Keep your message clear, concise, and well thought out. Being unprepared can draw things out and weaken the point you are trying to make.
  • Remain calm: You may not always agree with what others have to say and that’s okay. But find a respectful way to voice your opinion without an outburst or putting others down. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you disagree, go through the proper channels to share your concern and insight.

When members are conscientious of their behavior and what it takes to run an efficient and effective meeting, this can reduce conflict and disagreements. The HOA board should also do its part to keep meetings on track and ensure that members are familiar with procedures and protocols.

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