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Are Virtual Board Meetings Better for Community Associations?

This Pandemic has been a horrific human tragedy, and by no means can there ever be a silver lining. At best, we’ve learned some lessons, and new ways of doing business have been established as viable.

One of these things that we have learned is how we can improve community association board of director meetings through virtual board meetings conducted on platforms like Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube Live.

Some Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Companies have learned that remote working does not degrade productivity and perhaps even improves it. I would expect that in the future that “hot bunking” work stations in offices will allow companies to hire more people without having to expand to a larger space.  

From a community association perspective, the greatest thing that has been discovered is the unbelievable success of “video conference” virtual board meetings.

Problems With Traditional Board Meetings

I have been to my share of community association meetings and usually, there are two problems:

  1. The membership usually fails to understand that a board meeting is NOT their meeting. Membership meetings are one thing but board meetings are another.

    The membership is positioned as observers who may articulate their issues in an open forum at the beginning or end of the meetings.  Board meetings may allow for an open forum but seldom do members sit and wait their turn.  Instead, it is often the case that they interrupt their elected directors from conducting meetings. This takes people off subject and often leads to confrontations.
  2. Many meetings are scheduled at inconvenient times so that members cannot attend, and that is a very bad practice. Sometimes these meetings are scheduled by design to minimize attendance, and sometimes they are held during work hours when people simply cannot attend.

Virtual Board Meetings Are Just Better

virtual board meetings allow all members of the association an opportunity to see their community association board of directors as work.

It has been quite an eye-opener. More than that, it has been a brilliant experience for me to see how an unruly gathering can be changed into an orderly business meeting.

If I had my choice this would be the only way to perform board meetings going forward.

moms remote fixed
Mom’s remote after I ‘fixed it’ for her. Mom has not called me to fix her TV since I did it.

One Potential Drawback

The only drawback is that there are people who don’t have the technical skill or equipment to be able to participate in such a meeting.

My dear 92-year-old mother would love to have a computer but I won’t get her one until she figures out the remote control. I’ve done everything I can to help her learn, but mastery eludes her.

Getting people with limited technology experience to be able to attend will be the challenge if meetings go completely digital.

I invite suggestions.

Digital Meetings Are Better for Everyone

Regarding the first problem of unruly and disruptive meetings, a video conference has the best feature and it’s called a mute button. (My wife has been trying to get one for my big mouth for years, but I digress.)

In the past three months and countless meetings, I have never experienced such orderly, productive meetings, and considering these difficult times it has been a Godsend.

  • The board gets to conduct their meetings without being interrupted by members who come with personal agendas and the agenda is adhered to.
  • The members can be heard loud and clear during the open forum portion of the meeting, so they are not ignored or interrupted.
  • The administrator can record the meeting for prosperity, and minutes can then be properly composed.

It’s a perfect way to conduct board meetings and produce very effective results. This Pandemic has been tragic, but this is one small lesson or process that we can now say was an unintended benefit of a very unfortunate situation.

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