As a board member in a homeowners’ association (HOA), your duties may require you to present important information and updates to community residents and other board members at HOA meetings. That can be difficult if you have a fear of public speaking, also known as glossophobia, or are unsure of how to build an effective presentation. Follow these tips to ensure you’re always prepared to advocate for your community.
What’s an HOA Board Meeting?
The most common HOA meeting, a board meeting is a meeting of elected leaders to conduct the business of the association. Operations, including policy setting, maintenance reports, dispute resolutions, and future plans, are often discussed. While elected leaders usually must attend, resident attendance and participation are encouraged. Effective meetings are key to board members fulfilling their role within the community.
How to Build an Effective HOA Board Meeting Presentation
Whether it’s an overview of the annual budget, a new landscaping initiative, or an update to emergency planning procedures, board members are frequently called to present the facts, figures, and information needed to influence the next steps in a community’s decision-making process. When you build an effective presentation, you’re successfully communicating your ideas and point of view—and may potentially change the community for the better for years to come. To guarantee your HOA board meeting is both productive and informative, be knowledgeable about the issue you want to discuss. For an engaging presentation, structure it with a:
- Strong start. The start of your presentation will hook your audience and keep them engaged. Try to entertain listeners from the moment you begin with an anecdote or elements of connection, like asking for a show of hands, to capture the room’s attention.
- Personal connection. Sharing a personal story makes you relatable and shows residents that their community is run by people just like them. Connecting with the crowd helps everyone, including you, feel a little more comfortable.
- Simple demonstration. If you’re using supporting materials, like PowerPoint slides or a wipe board, to guide the audience through your presentation, keep things short, sweet, and easy to read. For PowerPoint presentations, consider following the 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides that’ll take no more than 20 minutes to read, with at least a 30-point font size. That way, people are more likely to retain the information.
- Core message. Remember what you want your audience to take away from the presentation. Be aware of your core message and confirm the points you make tie back to it.
Do your research and be prepared to answer questions. Don’t be afraid to use notes to take some of the load off your memory, as well.
Tips for Speaking Confidently at Your HOA Board Meeting
Confidence is important when presenting in an HOA board meeting. As an elected leader of the community, residents trust you with their biggest investment and are looking to you to for guidance. A prime opportunity to showcase your leadership skills, your meeting presentation should be well thought out and effective. When you speak confidently during a presentation, people listen. Confidence while speaking is demonstrated by a clear and audible tone in voice, good posture, a streamlined flow of information, and eye contact. To make sure you're speaking confidently at your HOA board meeting, consider:
- Watching others present or speak at meetings. You might get pointers on what to do— and what not to do.
- Arriving early. Get an idea of your audience, meet people you’ll be speaking to one-on-one, and confirm you have everything you need.
- Doing breathing exercises. Practice mindful breathing techniques and other calming routines to slow your heart rate and relieve stress.
- Eating well and getting good sleep. Attend to your body and mind in the days ahead of your presentation.
- Working as a team. Reach out to your fellow board members or community to get help for your presentation. This might take some of the weight off your shoulders and improve overall teamwork within the group.
4 Tips for a Better HOA Board Meeting Presentation
Proper execution of a presentation during your board meeting may decide the success or failure of a promising new project your board worked hard to initiate. And even though you may only have a few minutes to promote a needed upgrade, go over a new procedure, or propose a change of plans, what you do and say now can have a big impact on the community. Your presentation should always be engaging, informative, truthful, and accurate. For a better board meeting presentation, consider these four tips:
- Practice. Connect with a fellow board member and rehearse once or twice a week in the two weeks leading up to your presentation. Make notes of details you may have forgotten to include and switch up your cadence to deliver a more insightful speech.
- Interact with your audience. Ask them questions, create an activity or poll they can engage with, and give them additional resources to take home.
- Make your presentation dynamic. Don’t be shy about amping up presentation elements; they keep things interesting. Audio, visual, and other interactive elements can add both style and substance to your presentation.
- Be calm. Remember that your audience likely includes people you know that are rooting for you.
Establish Your Voice in The Community
HOA board meeting presentations are just one way of communicating with residents. To be most effective, reach out to residents often and through a variety of channels. The more forms of communication delivered, the better. Read our ebook, “8 Proven Communication Tools for HOA Board Members,” for tips on the best ways to promote transparency and strong communication across your HOA.