Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How many different ways do you communicate with your association members?

More than 90% of disputes (including those amongst people living in community associations) could be prevented if people had better communication skills and more productive communication channels.

How often does your board communicate with its members? Is there a community newsletter that is well written, informative and regular? Do you have a community cable channel or a bulletin board where notices of meetings and other items of community interest are clearly and prominently posted? What about an association website? Are your members encouraged to use it to print out records requests, view notices or post comments?

If your membership and board meetings are not well attended have you asked yourself why? Is it because the meetings are held on inconvenient dates and times for the majority of the membership? Are they held in an uncomfortable setting or do they usually degenerate into a yelling match so that members would rather stay home than participate?

If you are planning a major community project such as a rewrite of your governing documents or a material alteration to the common areas, do you first reach out to members to gain their "buy in" to the project or do you forge ahead and spring it on them at the last moment when their approval is needed?

Some boards are understandably gun-shy about engaging in a high level of communication with their members because they have been subject to harassing or defamatory communication in the past. However, a highly functioning board of directors understands that communication is key and the more avenues of communication used the greater the chance that your message will be heard.

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