- Joe Wise
Draw Out Silent HOA Board Members
People are quiet in Board meetings for different reasons. Some are naturally quiet. Others fear sharing their opinions because they may be ridiculed or laughed at. Others may not be comfortable speaking in front of people. Yet, these people may have important contributions for the association, so it’s critical to engage everyone in the HOA Board meeting.
While it’s true that you can’t convert quiet people into extroverts, there are strategies that can get everyone involved. Here are some steps you as the group leader can take to nudge quieter members into speaking.
Ask an open-ended question about a meeting topic, and then go round robin asking for responses until all members have added input.
Ask Board members to jot down ideas about a specific topic, and then ask each individual to call out their favorite idea while you capture the responses.
Solicit ideas on a topic privately from a quiet Board member. You’ll find they may have a lot to say. Then, encourage and get agreement that they will share the idea in the meeting. Breaking the ice by saying, “John has some an interesting idea.” can help the person start talking.
Holding comments on brainstormed ideas until all have been listed can motivate quieter people to speak up. While someone may hesitate to break into a discussion, he or she may be more comfortable adding an idea to a list.
Thank them for sharing. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in reinforcing the behavior of speaking up in meetings.
Quiet people don’t typically like to be put on the spot in front of the group. Coming up with ways to solicit input from each Board member creates a safe environment to share ideas in meetings without singling out one or more members.
Many times, you’ll see that quieter Board members become more engaged without an explicit invitation when you create a safe, relaxed environment. As they begin to see that their opinions are of interest to others and can help the community, they become more confident about speaking up.
When meetings are respectful and productive, communities are better able to solve problems and make decisions. That’s why HOA Board members to engage in each meeting. It benefits every homeowner and creates a better community.
Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee (including: KINGSPORT, TN | JOHNSON CITY, TN | BRISTOL, TN | ELIZABETHTON, TN | ERWIN, TN | BRISTOL, VA | KNOXVILLE, TN) with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management. The firm is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®).