Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Make Your Annual Meeting a Celebration!

It’s that time of year again!  Fall leaves, crisp air, budgets, and not too far behind…. the Annual Meeting.  Managers and board members are sometimes apprehensive about whether or not the meeting will veer off course to conversations filled with angry accusations and criticisms.  

Instead, challenge your community to celebrate at your Annual Meeting this year.  This is a great time to reflect on the year of events that you've shared as a community and to find the good.  Even the failures can be made into educational springboards for next year successes.

If you take a moment to review your management reports, work orders, and invoices - you will always come across at least one project (that you may have even completely forgotten about) that is sitting there, waiting to be celebrated!

When hosting the meeting, it’s a best practice to keep refreshments to a minimum.  Alcohol and big food spreads are never recommended.  Your meeting is just that- a business meeting; not a social event.  Your goal should be to have things flow smoothly and quickly, and if neighbors want to plan a social event to be held afterward, great!

Now you are probably asking yourself “How do you celebrate in the meeting?”  Here are a few tips: Highlight how certain projects improved the community through increased value, livability, or provided cost savings.  Again, items that went terribly wrong - such as a major insurance loss - can even be acknowledged.  But make sure that you are reminding everyone of the key brief facts surrounding the issue and then noting what measures have been put in place (or will be put in place) to make sure the community is in a better position to respond in the future.  If you are apprehensive about liability for discussing certain topics, consult your legal counsel first.  Once you've highlighted completed projects, you can reveal the new Capital projects slated for the upcoming year.  Select one or two planned projects and discuss why these items were approved, what quarter they are anticipated to be completed and provide some education on these projects.  Always recognize your board and committee members, publicly thanking them for their hard work and dedication to the community.  Take a moment to recognize those members who have gone above and beyond to improve the community.  Last but not least…thank your membership for attending and taking the time to participate in your community’s end of year celebration!

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