One of the most overlooked components of running an interruption-free meeting is the layout of the meeting room. Remember – a Board meeting is a BOARD meeting. It is not a Membership/Homeowner meeting. Homeowners may attend to observe or to address the Board during an allocated Open Forum however, the Board meeting is a place where primary interaction should be between Board members.
How are most Board meeting rooms set up? You’re probably thinking some kind of auditorium style seating where the Board sits in a row at a head table facing chairs lined in rows. Think about the psychology of that. It invites participation from the audience and gives the impression the Board is reporting to the audience. Further, hinders eye contact and interaction between Board members.
We feel, the best Board meeting room layout is a U or V-shaped table for the Board and audience-style seating for homeowners. With this room setup, no one’s back is to the audience, interaction and eye contact is maintained and crossed between Board members ensuring they stay engaged with one another, and it limits the amount of interaction between the Board and the audience. Most City Hall and other Government meeting rooms are set up this way for a reason.
If you have difficulty controlling interaction between the Board and Homeowners, try this type of room setup. Little things can make a big difference!