Every month, Board Members around the country – no, around the world – meet to discuss and govern their Condo Associations. For most outsiders (and insiders), this is not exactly the most exciting thing that happens in a given month. However, with major budgets at stake, committee reports, and safety and security concerns – these meetings are quite important. Being an effective Board Member means taking your monthly meetings seriously, and that means you need to know how to prepare for a Condo Association Board meeting. Here are some tips and tricks to help you be a better prepared Board member.
The Weekend Before: Catch Up on Things
Don’t procrastinate and leave your homework for the day of or night before a Board meeting. The weekend before your meeting – when you’ve got some spare time and aren’t in the normal hustle and bustle of the week – is the time to catch up on things. I keep a running list of important stuff during Board meetings, including things to remember for the upcoming month. I check that list against any business that’s been done in the month since to make sure things are actually getting done. I make sure I’m caught up on any bids we need to vote on, check in on our committees and see if we need to do anything there. I make a few simple notes on each to jog my memory and then bring that to the meeting.
After you get home from work and before you go to the meeting: Reset your Brain
Most Board meetings I know of are in the evening. This means that you likely are going from work and a commute into your meeting. You may not have much time between the two. Sometimes you’ll have a lousy day or a lousy commute, and now you’ve got an hour – maybe two or three – of dealing with Association business. Being in a bad mood is not going to help things, so here are two tricks I’ve found that make a huge difference.
First, take some time for silence. I pulled this from Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning – here’s a good Medium article on some tips from it. Silence can be meditation, it could be just sitting quietly, maybe reading a verse from the religious text of your choice, or it could even be listening to music (I prefer classical, but maybe some death metal clears your mind). The bottom line – unplug for a few minutes. Even if it you just take five minutes before the meeting, it makes all the difference. It resets your brain, clears out some of the bullshit that accumulated for the day, and puts you in a better mental place.
Next, eat something. If you have time to eat dinner, great, but a light snack works. In fact, a light snack may be better because you won’t be sleepy from a full meal. No matter what – get that blood sugar up! There is the famous story of following Israeli parole boards that indicate blood sugar may play a role in decision making. Whether or not you subscribe to that, I guarantee that if you’re hungry, you’ll likely be cranky, and you’ll also not necessarily want to give things in the meeting the consideration they deserve – you may just want to get things done so you can go eat. So make time for a snack.
Right Before you Leave: Hygiene Matters
This is one of the biggest secrets to prepare for a condo association board meeting. You’re about to be talking at people in a confined space for an extended period of time. I will take a brief moment to remind you that hygiene matters! This may border as TMI, but I always re-deodorize and mouthwash (or at least chew gum) before my meeting. You may find this silly, but trust me, your fellow Board members can tell who had garlic hummus for dinner. That’s two hours of garlic hummus coming right at you. Not fun. You don’t want to be the smelly one. And you know what they say, if you can’t figure out who the smelly one is… it’s probably you. So take a moment to freshen up. It’ll make YOU feel better, too.
Why this Matters
Some of the advice here is obvious, some may seem silly, but here’s why it matters when you need to prepare for a Condo Association Board meeting: You want to go into the meeting as distraction-free as possible, ready to do the best you can. While you might forget it sometimes – which is why you need to fight apathy – you’re here to do the best you can for your Condo Association. Following these easy steps will help you clear your mind and make the best decisions you can for your community.