Improving Meeting Effectiveness A Meeting of Minds

Maybe your child got in trouble at school, the dog had an accident on the carpet or a disgruntled call was received from a difficult client; whatever the reason, there are times when the last thing a condo board member or resident wants to do is to attend a board meeting. 

Lack of enthusiasm doesn't make these meetings any less crucial and necessary, however, nor does it mean that community members who halfheartedly drag themselves to the common room to conduct association business won't find the energy to squabble, hurl insults, and derail the proceedings once they get there. 

That being the case, it often falls to the property manager or the managing agent to keep things civil and the proceedings moving forward. Here are a few ideas to help make meetings as painless and productive as possible. 

What Are We Doing Here? 

A big first step toward maintaining order and giving structure to any meeting, whether it's a board-only session or an annual gathering of everyone in the building, is to put the meeting's goals and objectives in writing. 

"Meetings can get off track if the board hasn't set a proper agenda or undergone the appropriate preparations," says Brent Straitiff, director of the association property management division of TriView in Chicago. "This includes making sure that the meeting runs as planned and stays on tasks for the duration. Preparation is key, and goes beyond having an effective agenda. The manager must be prepared to discuss all issues up for decision; that doesn't fall solely to the board." 


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  • I am a resident at a condo building built before 1991 who is wheel-chair bound. I had a temporary plywood ramp made specifically for access to enter/exit the common entrance. The HOA has since informed me the ramp is unacceptable due to fire escape regulations, insurance purposes and impeding other tenants from free access. My question is whether the HOA is in any way liable in providing wheel-chair accesibility to a multi-unit building built prior to 1991?
  • As a new resident in a condo building in Chicago, is there a legal standard that HOA follow when a previous owner relinquishes ownership as a short sale thus leaving outstanding monthly assessments and the HOA insists on the new owner paying the arrears