If you’ve been working from home over the last few months, then you are probably already familiar with online meetings and might even have a Zoom shirt by your desk ready for that quick call to your boss.
It’s the modern way of doing business, and for strata plans, virtual forums are opening new paths for owners to communicate to achieve quicker and more effective decision making.
Just think about how many times an issue at your plan has become bogged down in an endless email trail that never seems to get to the point. How much easier would it have been to have had a 10-minute chat with everyone online and get the issue sorted?
How about your AGM? Many plans suffer from a lack of engagement and absentee owners. Shifting the meeting online helps more people attend and can give a voice and understanding to owners who might otherwise find it hard to participate.
Ultimately, success in strata is achieved by having owners come together to make decisions so any format facilitating that is a welcome addition. Online meetings won’t replace what has gone before but they add a new dimension and that can only be a good thing. Is it time for your strata plan to give one a try?
Getting Started With Virtual Meetings
There are a number of apps that can be used for online communication, but Zoom has settled in as the market leader – the VHS to the Betamax’s of Teams, Skype and Messenger.
The app is successful for the simple reasons that it is easy to use and easy to access. Anyone can set up a meeting by downloading the program and following the prompts. Choose a time and date for your meeting and input the email addresses of the people you want to invite. Those invitees will then be sent a link to access the meeting and a meeting code and password. The meeting can be accessed using most connected devices – phone, tablet or desktop – with owners either following the link provided or going to the app and using the entry code.
If you are setting up your own meetings, the Zoom app is free to download and there is no cost for meetings of up to forty minutes. Subscription plans are available after that. Otherwise, your manager at Tower Body Corporate would be happy to set up the meeting for you. Over the next few weeks, managers will be contacting Committees to see if they want a trial meeting and training to help them get used to the process.
Running a Body Corporate Virtual Meeting
Just like face-to-face meetings, online meetings can be tailored depending on the purpose of the meeting and the desired outcome.
The meeting could be a simple chat between a handful of committee members to decide a couple of issues. In this case, keep things open and informal. Let everyone have their say. There’s no need for the meeting to be too long. If five minutes of chat saves a dozen emails, that’s a good outcome.
At the other end of the scale a large, formal meeting may need people to be patient. Let the organizer check everyone in – it takes longer online. Give people time to speak and don’t hog the mic. If a clear vote is required, it may take a little bit of time to make sure each opinion is recorded. Give the meeting Chair space to control the flow of the meeting and accurately record the outcomes.
Whatever type of meeting you are having it’s helpful to plan ahead – let attendees know the purpose of the meeting and give them information to participate in advance. Keep meetings focused on key decisions that need to be made.
Tips for successful meetings:
- Check-in: If it’s a big meeting with many attendees it can help to check in five or ten minutes early. Understand that the check-in process may take longer than usual. Help the organiser by making your username your full name and unit/lot number.
- Use your camera: Some people can be reluctant to put their faces on the screen. Don’t be. It’s a much better conversation when you can see as well as hear.
- Mute yourself: If you are not talking put yourself on mute. Even low background sounds such as typing can be picked up by your mic and disrupt a meeting.
- Use the chat function: As well as discussion there is a chat function that can be used for group or individual messages. If it’s a big meeting it can be hard for everyone to speak. Try sending a question or comment in writing instead.
- Confirm in writing: After the meeting, the meeting organiser should send an update on any decisions made to attendees to confirm what has taken place. If it’s a formal meeting that would be the minutes but even if it is informal a short email to confirm can help make sure that everyone understood the outcome.