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Three Quick Tips for Better Committee Meetings

Well run meetings are those that define and record the decisions efficiently. Here are three quick tips to consider for better committee meetings.

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

  1. Be Prepared

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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’.

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If you would like more information about achieving better committee meetings, contact your manager:

Tammy Lynch: tammy.lynch@towerbodycorporate.com.au P: 0466 156 765
Samantha Morrison: samantha.morrison@towerbodycorporate.com.au P: 0434 670 058
Kelly Borell: Kelly.borell@towerbodycorporate.com.au P: 0435 766 852
Will Marquand: will.marquand@towerbodycorporate.com.au P: 0427 125 656

5 replies on “Three Quick Tips for Better Committee Meetings”

i agree with those 3 concise principles, but here’s my throw/missing element on how to improve meetings (from my past experience of body corp M’s, or indeed any type).
UNDERSTAND THE MOTION.
if a motion is not fully understood by attendees, how can they logically vote for or against? any important motion needs to be fully understood by a diverse-background range of attendees. the motions “written clause” may well be clear to the chairman but may need illustrative support for ave Joe to follow, eg pre-vote discussion, photo/videos or a walk around/questioning of chairman/expert. may involve some technical knowledge or terminology in the specific field too.
if an attendee is not au fait with a motion clause, he has several choices: take a punt on voting based on gut feeling, follow the majority of hands, or totally refrain. he may also not “want to lose face” by revealing to meeting that he doesn’t properly understand the motion & it’s implications.
any important motion deserves some pre-meeting PREPARATION.(but usually neglected due to the time & effort for someone to arrange). all this puts “pressure” on attendees to vote under duress, so they don’t vote with relaxed clarity. still, any well-disciplined meeting i believe is better than none at all.
so key word: “PREPARATION”

Thanks Richard,

I agree with ‘prepartion’ and motions that make sense. As a manger, I can say that it is not always straightforward to arrange these – I have had things go wrong despite best efforts – but if a motion is not clear to begin with you can’t expect a clear outcome at the end.

Will

hi,

It’s not a requirement to have correspondence listed.

Personally, I find the convention a bit cumbersome in the age of the internet. Correspondence may have made sense when it was letters going back and forth but with email most correspondence is handled on the spot and the records are saved – is there anything to benefit by listing this on a meeting minute?

Still, if an owner specifically requests an item to be tabled it can be listed as correspondence. Owners also have the option of submitting a motion for consideration. That would be the recommended path in most instances.

Hi,

It’s not a requirement to have correspondence listed.

Personally, I find the convention a bit cumbersome in the age of the internet. Correspondence may have made sense when it was letters going back and forth but with email, most correspondence is handled on the spot and the records are saved – is there anything to benefit from by listing this on a meeting minute?

Still, if an owner specifically requests an item to be tabled it can be listed as correspondence. Owners also have the option of submitting a motion for consideration. That would be the recommended path in most instances.

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