As some associations resume in-person meetings, one thing to consider going in to your 2023 meeting schedule is the oftentimes overlooked detail of simply how the room is set up. Remember, a board meeting is a BOARD meeting. It is not a membership/homeowner meeting. Homeowners can be there for observation or to address the board during an allocated open forum part of the meeting. Outside of that, interaction should be between board members.
How are most board meeting rooms set up? Usually, some form of auditorium style seating, right? The board sits in a row at a head table facing chairs lined in rows. It invites participation from the audience, gives the impression the board is reporting to the audience, but hinders eye contact–and thus interaction–between board members.
Another setup we commonly see is a round table room. The physical setup of that puts no barrier between the board and membership and makes it feel all-inclusive. It’s a nice sentiment, but not a good way to run a business meeting of the board.
The best setup you can create is some form of a U- or V-shaped table for the board, and audience-style seating for homeowners. This way, no one’s back is to the audience, but interaction and eye contact is crossed between board members. Most city hall and other government meeting rooms are set up this way for a reason.
If you have difficulty controlling interaction between board members and homeowners, try this type of board meeting setup. Little things can make a big difference!