Have you ever been to a Board meeting that was equivalent to going to the circus? You know the type. Everyone clowning around, trying to out-perform the other to get their point noticed. Pencils and papers flying through the air as if they were popcorn and peanuts. The tension in the air when an important issue is being discussed feels thicker than watching a tightrope walker. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but you get the idea. The kind of meeting you leave feeling like you put out more fires caused by the jugglers flaming batons than made onlookers smile and leave happy.
Your ticket to a well-organized Board Meeting and not one that feels like a circus act is to have a form of Parliamentary Procedure in place.
Parliamentary Procedure is like the Ring Master of the Circus
It’s what is followed to keep order and keep things running efficiently. The more formal definition is “the body of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations and legislative bodies.” In California, an HOA Board is required to have some form of parliamentary procedure in place to help conduct Board meetings. While most Boards have a more relaxed form of parliamentary procedure, the important thing is to have something to refer to so that the focus is on creating a business-like meeting.
Not Having a Procedure for Your Board is like Sending in the Clowns
If you don’t have some kind of procedure in place to run your HOA Board meetings, then it’s like sending in the clowns at the circus. It can quickly turn into chaos. To avoid any clown-like shananigans, there are some good rules of thumb to follow:
- Have an agenda and stick to it
- Discuss only one agenda item at a time
- Give each Board Member the opportunity to speak
- Allow time for public comment
- Decide issues through motions, seconds and votes
An Organized Procedure is like the Flying Trapeze Act
The flying trapeze act takes amazing timing and precision. The performers have to know the ins and outs of the routine or else they will fail and probably get hurt. Your Board meeting should have a well thought out agenda that is given to Board members ahead of time so they know what to expect at the meeting. If they are able to ask questions and review material ahead of time, then the meeting will be able to go routinely. By agreeing to a pre-decided set of rules, the HOA Board meeting will be timely and efficient, allowing Board members to feel like they just did a back flip off the trapeze and landed firmly on their feet.
So the next time you’re under the Big Top that is your Board meeting, remember to use whatever parliamentary procedure your association has put into place. Everyone will be awed an amazed at your incredible fetes and give you a standing ovation. Okay, maybe not, but at least you can take a mental bow and leave your HOA Board meeting feeling like you gave a great performance that was efficient and will be effective for the association.