Good committee meetings can be the backbone of a well-run body corporate scheme, but too often they are allowed to drag on for extended periods and lose their sense of purpose.
It’s understandable that meetings sometimes lose purpose as body corporates put diverse groups of people with different interests together. Getting those parties in alignment to form a cohesive viewpoint is no easy task.
Still, meetings that meander for hours and only reach vague conclusions don’t help anyone. Ultimately, committees are decision making bodies and well run meetings are those that define and record the decisions efficiently so the business of the scheme can move ahead. Here are three quick tips to consider for better committee meetings:
Three Tips for Better Committee Meetings
Be like a boy scout and make sure you have done your preparation in advance.
First, the secretary and the body corporate manager have to prepare a good notice. That means clear topics that are supported with documentation that allow people to make decisions.
How many items are on the agenda? Are they really necessary or can you cut back to something leaner?
For better committee meetings, think about the flow of the meeting. If you have some big items to discuss, is it best to put them first when the energy is good, or could you start with a couple of simpler items to break the ice and get a consensus going?
Then, committee members themselves have to be prepared. This means reading the notice and documents in advance and arriving at the meeting with your positions in mind. If you show up at the meeting and don’t know what the topics are, you need to ask what you are doing on the committee.
Respect the Meeting Manager
The Chair of your scheme is the meeting manager and they need to direct the meeting – that’s what they are elected to do. Many Chairs won’t have professional experience of this, so if you are bit uncertain, then you can lean on your body corporate manager for guidance.
Chairs need to be fair in allowing people to express their opinion, but also firm in making sure the meeting keeps moving. The real job of the chair is to frame the issues at the meeting in such a way that owners can vote and respond ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘abstain’. Some topics are complex and need some breathing room for people to air their opinions, but most are straightforward and can be determined within a minute or two. If a matter is framed correctly and owners respect the Chair has a job to get through the issues, the meeting can move forward at a faster rate.
One further good tip to achieve better committee meetings is for the Chair to set a time limit for the meeting at the start. It makes people conscious of the time they are taking and the need to make progress. Ninety minutes should usually be enough. Most good concentration dissipates quite quickly after that point.
Decisions Not Opinions
Body corporate committees are decision making bodies and they make decisions by voting. The purpose of a Committee Meeting is to record the votes of the Committee, not their opinions.
It sounds obvious, but this is often forgotten in the flow of meetings when lots of different voices are seeking to make themselves heard.
Not everyone likes to hear this message. Some people like to chat, some need to make sure their voice is heard, some people think that when they talk loudly and long enough, they must be talking the truth and others must agree with them. In reality, everyone on the committee just has one vote and that is what is counted. If an issue is taking too long, the best way to bring it to conclusion is to say ‘just vote on it’.
If you would like more information about achieving better committee meetings, contact your manager:
Tammy Lynch: email@example.com P: 0466 156 765
Samantha Morrison: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0434 670 058
Kelly Borell: Kelly.email@example.com P: 0435 766 852
Will Marquand: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0427 125 656