Monthly Condo Association meetings are critical for the operations and maintenance of an Association. This is where the vast majority of real work gets done. Involved Owners show up to see the sausage made, or at least read the minutes. From a Board’s perspective, you’re typically thrilled to see ANYONE show up. Nothing is more disheartening than a monthly meeting with no attendees. When people do show up, you definitely attract a cast of characters. Here’s a list of five personalities at Condo Association meetings which you may encounter and how to effectively work with them.
This is the best of the personalities at Condo Association meetings you can encounter – Owners who show up regularly and engage with the Board. These Owners are generally everything a Board could ask for. They show up fairly regularly, they ask good questions, and they provide valuable feedback.
How to Handle: Continue to foster their engagement. If they’re not already involved in committees, encourage them to make the next leap. When you take their feedback into account, make sure you tell them it was their idea and you did it.
These Owners show up once and then may never return. They might be a new Owner or might have just decided to get involved. They usually show up without an agenda – they’re not a “One-and-Done” – to see what a meeting is all about.
How to Handle: You want to convert them into Dedicated Owners. Try to engage with them and encourage them to come back. Let them know your Board needs help from engaged Owners and committee members. When it comes to the types of personalities at Condo Association meetings, you only might get one shot with them, so play it cool.
These are the Owners who appear and sit quietly, never asking questions or really interacting. But at least they do show up. They usually are nice enough people, just quiet. Despite your best attempts to figure out why they show up… you really have no idea why they come to meetings.
How to Handle: Be very vocal about thanking them for showing up and staying aware of the Condo’s business. Try to engage them in small talk and see if they’ll come out of their shell.
This is the Owner the Board has never seen before – ever – even though they’ve lived in the building for five years. However, something has pissed them off, and they’re here to tell you exactly what it was. Typically, they’re ignorant of the Association’s business and how or what decisions have been made. As a result, their complaint might be completely off-base, but they’re still going to complain until they tucker themselves out.
How to Handle: Hear them out, explain why the Board took the action it did, point out communications materials which explained the action, and move on. You won’t see or hear from them for another five years, so stay professional and give them their fifteen minutes of fame.
This is a type you need to watch out for. Pariahs tend to be relatively well-informed about the Association and how Associations work. As a result, they will often push the Board to the brink in order to get preferential treatment. For example, you might be planning some sort of major project, and they might go so far as to threaten to sue (or actually sue) in order to obtain preferential treatment for themselves.
How to Handle: Be very careful. If needed, involve your lawyer early and often. Don’t fall into the trap of giving them special treatment that other Owners might also demand. Most importantly, don’t trust anything they say. Deal with them primarily in writing to prevent any confusion or “he said, she said” issues. They are by far the worst to deal with of the personalities at Condo Association meetings and can be very damaging to the Association.