Sharper Management


Board Meetings: Virtual or In-Person?

After a year and a half of virtual meetings, many HOA boards are going back to in-person now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. In October, many meetings will involve homeowners as well, as the fall is a common time for board elections. If you’re on the fence about whether your meetings should be held virtually or in-person, here are a few things to consider that will help inform your decision. Virtual: Pros and Cons Pros: More people can attend. Virtual meetings allow people to log on just a few minutes before the meeting starts, rather than having to worry about getting to the in-person meeting on time if they have a busy schedule. Immunocompromised individuals or those who don’t feel comfortable attending in-person can still be part of the meeting. Information can be shared easily with screen-sharing, and attendees can take screenshots of important points. Cons: There’s chances of technical difficulties, like internet connection. It can be harder to keep the attendees’ attention. Without that in-person interaction and physical presence, attention span drops. Talking over each other can become an issue. Even with an organized agenda, slight lags in video can cause attendees to talk over each other without realizing. In-Person: Pros and Cons Pros: Better connections can be formed. Residents want to get to know their board members, and this is easier to do when meetings are face-to-face. It’s more organized. Communication is better, agendas are clear, and the meeting can still run even if there’s a technical difficulty along the way. Attention is improved. Since the chance to do work or shop online is eliminated with an in-person meeting, you have the full attention of attendees. Cons: It’s not as inclusive. Those who are not comfortable attending in-person get left out of the conversation if virtual isn’t an option. It takes more time. In-person meetings tend to take longer—some think that in order for the meeting to be worthwhile for in-person attendees, it has to be long. This isn’t true, however, but it can be hard to shake that mindset. Attendance may not be as high. Some people don’t have the time to get to a meeting after work or other commitments, whereas attending virtually can be done up to the last minute and not cause any disruptions. So, how do you make the decision? If possible, give attendees the option. Meetings can be held in-person while still allowing people to attend virtually. This is typically done on a large screen so that in-person attendees can still see and hear those online. If you do make the call to go in-person, be safe. Practice social distancing and provide masks and hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Lead by a team of industry experts, Sharper Management is proud of both the caliber of clients that we serve and the Minnesota marketplace that we call home.

Board Tip: Tabling vs. Postponing Agenda Items

While each HOA may conduct business differently, a standard procedure for board meetings is essential to optimize efficiency and productivity, commonly known as Parliamentary Procedure. Some boards use Robert’s Rules of Order to create the meeting format, agendas, motions, and floor discussion, while others create their own procedures. But, even with a solid structure to a meeting, certain topics will have heavier debate than others. Whether members don’t have enough information on the topic, or it’s too sensitive, the board will either “table” or “postpone” that item. Postpone If the board decides that the item is taking up too much time, or the members’ time would better be spent on something else, they can decide to postpone the matter. With this structure, the board intends to take the matter back up at a later time, whether in the same meeting or a future one. These items can be postponed to a definite time. The motion to postpone can be debated by members. There are, however, indefinite postponements, where the board has no particular intention of taking the matter back up. If an item is postponed indefinitely, the matter cannot be brought up in the same meeting. Table Following Robert’s Rules of Order, a motion to lay an item “on the table” takes precedence over all other motions at the time that it is made. This motion cannot be debated and needs a majority and a second to carry the motion. However, with laying an item on the table, that matter doesn’t automatically come up in the next meeting. There has to be a motion to take that topic off the table. And, the motion to take the matter off the table can only be done during certain classes of business, such as “unfinished business” or “general orders.” This motion also needs a second and a majority. As your Minnesota neighbors, Sharper Management works to keep your HOA board of directors informed to ensure efficient leadership.